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

Image

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: Continue reading

Do you share your ideas?

Every writer’s second worst nightmare is to spend years pondering, writing and rewriting an idea that, as it turns about, (frankly, my dear) nobody gives a damn about. The easiest way to avoid wasting years on a stinker, is probably to ask people for their opinion on your ideas, before you withdraw into your aloof cabin in the woods or your lonely tower room for a few years of writing.

But then again, every writer’s worst nightmare, is having an awesome idea, and then seeing it break all sales or box office records, with some backstabbing writer buddy’s name on it.

So, do you share your best ideas, or do you keep them quiet until you have an unbridgeable head start? Both have their pros and cons:

Pro telling:

  • People can tell you if your idea stinks.
  • Talking about something clears your head, even regardless of feedback.
  • It reduces the loneliness of writing.
  • A miracle might occur and the guy in a bar you’re tipsily yapping your idea to, might happen be a bigshot agent/publisher/producer, who likes your idea so much he shoves you a big contract under your nose.

Against telling:

  • Your idea might get stolen.
  • A lot of people really don’t care about your writing ideas. You will bore them to oblivion if you talk too much about your latest projects. By the way, the same usually goes for your children, travels, home improvement projects and patchworking.
  • People might influence you, and make you deviate you from your clear goal or themes.
  • In the end, it all comes down to how you develop your characters and ideas. Oblomov barely left his couch, but he made an amusing protagonist. You might also be better at writing than at randomly explaining all the elements of your plot. Premature negative reactions could discourage you from a good idea and the world might just be denied of a master piece.

Three paragraphs and a list, and I’m still not sure what’s the best approach. So, please tell me what you think? Do you talk about your ideas or don’t you?