Hey readers,

It's been a while since I've talked about writing, so I figured I'd remedy that with a quick writing tip.  Here goes: 

The writing tip:  Have people read your stuff. 

Let me break this down a bit. 

Question: What do you mean by "stuff" exactly? 

Answer: books, screenplays, epic poems, etc. 

Question:  Who should read your stuff? 

Answer:  Good question.  You don't want to just get any random/neighbor/person you just met in the laundromat.  Try to find some people that are A) fluent in the language that you're writing in (author's note: that one is a biggie), B) Care enough about you that they'll put some time in to give you good notes. 

Yeah, A and B are pretty much the only two requirements that you're going to need.  You may have noticed that I left off a few requirements.  You don't need readers that have advanced degrees in English or book contracts or jackets with those neat leather patches on the elbows.  You basically just need some people who give enough of a damn about you to sit down for several hours and carefully read what you have written and want to help you get better. 

Question:  And how do you find these people? 

Answer:  Ask them. 

Here's a handy little exercise that will help you to find your readers:

Step 1:  Mail your finished manuscript to ten people who you think might make for good readers. 

Step 2:  Wait for several weeks. 

Step 3:  Reevaluate your friends list. 

Step 4:  Receive responses.  Wonder what happened to the other seven people. 

This, my friends, is how you get your inner circle of readers together.  As a writer, it is your job to cultivate this relationship, listen to their notes, and work together to make the best book/screenplay/epic poem you can. 

In case you're wondering, I had three people respond when I first sent out Sophomore Undercover. 

And they were my mom, my dad, and my brother. 

Author's note: my family is kick ass. 

One more piece of advice:  Never, under any circumstances, send your manuscript to this guy
9/14/2009 12:45:30 am

but just a freindly remember not to let your stuff read other people's stuff while you watch the other people watching it all happen

9/14/2009 12:46:20 am

because that doesn't do any good for anybody. plus it's awkward.

9/14/2009 12:48:34 am

unless everybody involved has a mustache. then it's awesome.

9/14/2009 03:25:58 am

ok. If you have interested people, who happen to have patches sewn on their elbows, does that disqualify them?

9/17/2009 02:39:37 pm

Hey man,

Would always love to read drafts if you need extra readers who have a background in YA and fiction (and, either fortunately or unfortunately for you, copyediting).

Just let me know!

9/17/2009 10:48:34 pm

Ben, i'd be happy to read your stuff, if you want an opinion from someone with no actual qualifications or connections to anyone in the publishing business.


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