Rant: Do Yourself Justice

Someone asked me to read a work-in-progress she had posted, which I, being the obliging human being I am, am currently in the process of doing. After reading the first chapter, it became evident that the writer had a tenuous grasp on the English language, human behaviour and the use of backstory in a novel. I am unsure whether this is the case, but it seemed to me that she had scribbled the thing down and then immediately posted it on the internet without rereading it at all.

Disclaimer time: I have been guilty of this myself, but I’ve learnt my lesson after receiving one of the harshest reviews I had ever been given. That is what you will leave yourself open to.

I have a problem with writers who think it’s a good idea to show off their unedited writing, which will always have problems. I don’t know if anyone else agrees with me, but I think a writer should do the first edit on their own, at least to tidy it up before unleashing it on the worldwide web. I’m currently cleaning up a few chapters of my novel and am appalled by the quality of my writing. I’m afraid I don’t understand the mentality of people who are willing to share such, well, crap. We all write crappy first drafts, but that doesn’t mean you should show that to the world. If you aren’t going to do a complete overhaul, at least run the thing through a spellchecker and proofread it yourself. Think about what readers’ first reactions to it might be. Do you want people to think your characters are cardboard cutouts of archetypes, your dialogue unrealistic and stiff, your writing riddled with errors?

I didn’t think so. Please, proofread your work before showing it to the world. Do yourself justice.

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