Friday, July 13, 2007

Writing Ethical Question

No, this one isn’t about social responsibility in relation to condom use or SSC in BDSM presentation. We all know how I feel about that. (Actually some of you probably don’t and I should do another post about that.)

This is about providing feedback.

I was out blog hopping several months ago (yes, this has been weighing on my mind that long) and I came across a sample chapter of a book someone was planning on trying to get published.

It was bad. I was real bad. It was POV errors like crazy, completely flat, telling and not showing, painful to read, riddled with grammatical errors bad. If it wasn’t the worst writing I’d read, it was definitely in the top 5.

I kept my mouth shut. This writer wasn’t a part of any crit group with me. He/She did not come to me for feedback. They did include that standard line asking for feedback in the blog post, but other than that, I had not been invited to state my opinion. This was also not on any writing board or anything like that. It was just posted on the writer’s blog.

After a few weeks, I wondered if I should drop that person a line asking if they wanted a crit of the work. I have crits to do and my own WIP’s and contracts to fulfill, so it’s not like I’m wanting for something do. I, simply, started to wonder if keeping my mouth shut was the right thing to do. I keep reminding myself that this person does not know me and has not come to me for help and we all know how well unsolicited advice goes over. Then, I remind myself of my early writing and how it would have been nice to have someone point out some errors before I broke the 100k word mark in Purpose Chaos.

So, here’s my dilemma: Do you think I'm doing the right thing by keeping my mouth shut and not offering unsolicited advice to this writer?


Vinnie G. said...

I think a constructive offer to critique would have been a nice thing to do, especially if it was crap. A little help can go a long way.

IM Cupnjava said...

Vinnie, I did contact him and offer him some advice. He took it much better than I'd expected. So, you're right, it was the right thing to do.