Five things you don’t want to say when asking someone to read your script/manuscript

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If this is what people look like when proofreading your manuscript, you need another rewrite. © sxc

Over the last year I have received a lot of requests from aspiring writers/screenwriters to read their stuff. Especially interns at the newspaper I work for, tend to target me. I will not go into the question whether this is a case of asking the blind to lead the blind, since answering that one won’t make me happy.

I don’t mind proofreading stuff, I like it actually. On the condition that it’s a serious attempt at writing.

Here is a top five of the most annoying things I’ve heard from people who want me to read their manuscript:

5. I’m not completely happy with it yet.

-> If you don’t like it, what are you hoping I will think of it?

4. I whipped all of this up last week! Fantastic, the words just came flowing out.

-> This is probably going to stink. You need to give it some thought and rewrites. Really.

3. I still have to revise it a bit.

-> This is definitely going to stink. Why? Go back to number 5.

2. My mum always says: you want to be a writer, but you never read.

-> This is really, seriously going to stink. If you never read, it is impossible to be a decent writer, let alone a good one.

1. It’s autobiographical.

-> Unless you’re Nelson Mandela or were kidnapped when you were twelve (and not by aliens), nobody cares.

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