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Friend: I'm writing, and you're a professional. I'd like to send you something to read, and get your opinion on whether or not it's derivative tripe. I can't critique my own work

JLB: I'm sorry but I cannot accept that for the following reasons:
1. Time. I read, on average, 20 short stories a week for APEX and TEoP.
2. Most people cannot accept critiques and I do not sugarcoat it. If it is crap, I say so.
3. Time. I have 4 anthologies to write for. 1 anthology that I'm editing. 1 White Wolf contract to finish and "pays the bills" writing that I'm doing right now.
4. Contract obligations. I want absolutely no question that my work is mine. No "I had that in my short story and you sold it to White Wolf. I demand compensation."
5. Friends who ask for critiques don't stay friends for long.

[More chat about what he could do to get critiques that don't involve me.]

Friend: If you ever find time, unlikely though it may be, I'd appreciate some candid analysis. You're writing impresses me.

JLB: Go to sff conventions and sign up for their workshops. Fairwood would be a good start. But I will always say "No." I don't have the time or the desire to critique other people's work when not in the line of duty.

Friend: Fair enough.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
marlowe1
Apr. 28th, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC)
You actually got a friend to say Fair Enough? Oh good for you. My last friend sent me the writing even after I told him repeatedly that I didn't want to read or critique his writing.

And that ends that friendship.
jennifer_brozek
Apr. 28th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
To be fair, he didn't want to take "No." for an answer. He explained to me that we really weren't that close and that in his profession, he's used to harsh critiques. But, mostly, he couldn't get around the whole "lack of time" aspect. So, yeah, he agreed because he had no other choice.
(Deleted comment)
jennifer_brozek
Apr. 28th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
I've thought about critiquing services for a fee - but, I believe in YOG's law... "The money flows TO the writer." Besides, when people pay you money, they expect more and make assumptions.
(Deleted comment)
jennifer_brozek
Apr. 28th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
The one you are writing for me for my anthology? Oh, yeah. Red pen in hand and malice on my mind.
evaleastaristev
Apr. 29th, 2009 04:54 am (UTC)
The only thing I would ever ask from a friend about a piece of writing is "This is the point I was trying to get across...did I succeed?"

And then it's only the little IC pieces that will be going up on the boards anyways.

Good on you for standing your ground.
ivan23
Apr. 29th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
Good to know in advance -- thanks!
(Deleted comment)
kaolinfire
May. 6th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
And unless this was a transcription error: "You're writing impresses me." ...

I _do_ crit friends. But only if they're writers to begin with. And I'm not a professional. :)
jennifer_brozek
May. 6th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
I copied and pasted exactly what he typed to me. That was his error and I chose not to discuss it with him as I was in the middle of a writing contract.
kaolinfire
May. 6th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
I had that strong suspicion, giving me a very clear picture of what he'd be asking you to look at. :)

Edited at 2009-05-06 07:05 pm (UTC)
jennifer_brozek
May. 6th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
:) Exactly.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )