Hypothetical question about editing a friend's writing.

Jump to Last Post 1-18 of 18 discussions (19 posts)
  1. M. T. Dremer profile image81
    M. T. Dremerposted 10 years ago

    Hypothetical question about editing a friend's writing.

    Let's say a friend of yours is self publishing their book and they are one more step away from a final product. You know they are going to publish it, and yet they ask you to read it in the hopes of finding some last minute quick fixes. As you read it, however, you discover that their book is nowhere near completion. It's overwhelmed with spelling, grammatical and story errors that are unforgivable for a book this far along. Do you risk the friendship and tell them the truth to spare them embarrassment, or do you go easy on it to spare their feelings?

  2. cweinbl profile image60
    cweinblposted 10 years ago

    If you are a professional editor, or even professional enough to know the difference, then tell your friend before it's too late. In fact, spelling errors, mistakes in grammar and punctuation and typos represent only half of potential problems. The rest is in context errors. Just one suggestion by my publisher's editor made a huge difference in sales. It was about content, not typos.

    Anyone interested in being published (especially in being self-published) must hire the most competent, talented and experienced editor possible. I cannot overestimate the criticality of this.

  3. Cardisa profile image88
    Cardisaposted 10 years ago

    Recently I asked a friend to edit a novelette for me. He did not find much errors in it but he did make a few (3 to be exact) minor story changes. If he had found many mistakes and story errors I would have loved for him to tell me right there and then.

    As a friend it is our responsibility to tell the truth. A true friend will understand that you are only doing what's best for them. Wouldn't it be better if you tell them than someone reviewing the book? Imagine an Amazon review that reads:

    "This author needs to go back to school because he cannot spell. I could hardly read through the first four chapters as the story was rife with spelling and grammatical mistakes......etc"

    I think you should tell them let them fix it and publish a book that people will want to read. Soften the blow by offering to help them polish the story.

  4. alancaster149 profile image78
    alancaster149posted 10 years ago

    Go easy and you do risk a squabble! If they've got something between their ears they'll see your point - and maybe thank you for putting them right in time. From the friend's point of view, there's nothing worse than somebody telling you they've done the editing on your work and you get laughed out of the publisher's office. The upshot of that is you never try it again. Not many get it right first time.

  5. stclairjack profile image79
    stclairjackposted 10 years ago

    if your friend asked you to read their work for corrections,... then do so,.... they have entrusted you, their friend to a huge task,... don’t let them down. they’ve trusted YOU,.. live up to that trust.

    help them fix spelling and grammatical errors, and rather than pointing out story line problems, instead you might ask questions,.. questions that might come to the mind of the average reader,.. and the answer to those questions will fix the story line issues,

    don’t let your friend self publish something that is less than they should,.. don’t let your friend spend hard earned $$ on an unfinished product,.... however,..... if the story in and of itself is awful,... help with spelling and grammar and time line problems,... but keep the OPINION to yourself,.. its your job to fix spelling, grammar, and time line,... don’t explore characters, or ask existential questions.

    hope i helped

  6. Kenja profile image80
    Kenjaposted 10 years ago

    Friends tell friends the truth (unless the friend is say under 17).  Any stranger can fib, avoid the issue, or otherwise not care enough to be helpfully candid. 

    If someone is going into a business meeting with their fly unzipped, their bra showing or their blouse improperly buttoned, and you point it out -- are you hurting their feelings or helping them?  Same thing here....

  7. Georgie Lowery profile image90
    Georgie Loweryposted 10 years ago

    I would be angry with a friend who would let me put out a book that gets Amazon reviews like "This would have been a great book if it didn't look like it was written and edited by a third grader." If you're a friend worth having, you'll be honest. But you know creatives are often insecure about our work, so break it gently. smile

    1. Cardisa profile image88
      Cardisaposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Totally in agreement here. I would never really forgive my friend if he let me publish a book like that.

  8. holisticthealth profile image74
    holisticthealthposted 10 years ago

    It's a difficult situation- that's precisely why one should never give a friend a book to edit. It's very likely that a friend will hold back on potentially hurful truths...the reality is that yes, you may lose this friendship, if you tell the truth. On other hand, how can you say nothing? Diplomacy helps- but a friend will always paint a better picture, because they don't want to hurt you.

  9. profile image55
    Mr. DAPposted 10 years ago

    M.T. What would you want ?
    As difficult as it may be you need to be honest with your friend. You don't have to beat him over the head with his errors but as a friend you should point out that the book is not ready and the reasons why.

  10. prettynutjob30 profile image87
    prettynutjob30posted 10 years ago

    I would tell them, it will help them more than hurt them. The writing world can be harsh, you could go over the mistakes with them and explain to them how to make the proper corrections.

  11. duffsmom profile image61
    duffsmomposted 10 years ago

    Be gentle, but since they asked I would discuss with the how much "opinion" they want.

    Find something good about the novel and start with that;  I love your characters but I have to let you know there are some errors.  Should I tell you what they are?

    Only because the friends asked.  If she didn't ask, mum's the word.

  12. quildon profile image78
    quildonposted 10 years ago

    Certainly I will tell her. For her own good as well as my reputation, but as someone mentioned I would be gentle.  Also, if my friend ever found out that I lied  to her just to spare her feelings it could mean the end of our friendship.

  13. Faceless39 profile image93
    Faceless39posted 10 years ago

    It's not much of a friendship if you can't give them the advice they need in order to be successful, especially since they asked for feedback.  Be honest, but be kind.  Be truthful, but try to help.  Honesty is almost always the best policy.  They will thank you in the end.

  14. adamknows profile image57
    adamknowsposted 10 years ago

    Absolutely, this is a no brainer. Don't even hesitate to speak truth here, it wont make it anywhere without your opinion anyways. In the same way unreadable hubs will not succeed, just not as embarrasing as a book

  15. austinhealy profile image75
    austinhealyposted 10 years ago

    I would assume that if a friend asks you to read their work, it is because your advice matters. So, what kind of friend would you be if you weren't telling the truth about it right now ? Of course, put kid gloves on and break it gently. In other words, you can pay now, or pay later if the book is published with all kinds of errors in it and you get blamed for it because your advice was asked.

  16. Borsia profile image39
    Borsiaposted 10 years ago

    Be polite but be completely honest.
    There is little I hate more than friends or family telling me they just LOVE something that I know has a lot of flaws.
    I want to know before its too late, you only get 1 first impression,,, it better be good!

  17. dohn121 profile image81
    dohn121posted 10 years ago

    What a tough question to answer...I was once told to "Keep my friends close and my enemies closer."  So what does that mean?  Well, one way to interpret it is that your enemies just could be more honest than friends.  Think about it.  Friends may put your feelings first and so avoid any attempt to hurt you, whereas your enemies have no qualms about telling you just how much they hate your guts.  With that said, yes, your enemies are more honest than your friends [sic].

    I guess that all of this depends on what kind of person you are and who you decide to befriend in this world.  If it were that my fly was open or that I had a booger hanging out of my nose, I'd count on my friends around me to tell me that it's so to stave off the criticism, disdain, and mockery that is soon to follow from the other people around me.  These are the friends I want to have around me and want to surround myself with.  So on the same token, if I screw up a plot line, punchline, or a storyline, then by golly, I want to know about it.  I want to know if my hair piece is lopsided, or that my skinny jeans are just too damn skinny, dammit.  In my opinion, it's my friends' duty to let me know these things.  I mean for christ, what do I pay them for?

  18. profile image0
    jambo87posted 10 years ago

    Your friend has devoted many hours to their project. If I spent that much time on a piece I would want my editor friend to tell me what needs work. You won't spare them embarrassment if something they spent so much time on comes out sub par. They asked you to edit to save them from potential embarrassment. With honesty, you will be a good friend and a diligent editor.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)