Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The curious encounter of Stella Deleuze

There are things I really love, like my new flavoured coffees, my iguana, cycling, cooking, writing, editing, yes even helping, but there are things I can't stand. At all: time wasters.

A few days ago on Twitter, I connected with a guy who apparently studies English Literature and loves reading. Good. I like people who love books. I followed him back. We communicated and had a bit of a harmless banter; enjoyable, nothing offensive. Yesterday, he sent me a message and asked me if I could give him feedback on a bit of short fiction. Because I like to help, I agreed and shortly after I stared at the screen in disbelief.
Did he really mean that? That piece of short (really short) fiction was so badly written, even a 10-year-old would have done a better job. I was gobsmacked. I wondered if that guy is taking the piss, but I take things like that seriously, so I spent roughly ten minutes on giving him the feedback he wanted. Then I fought hard if I should tell him to better not continue with writing. I ended up telling him that the bit looked like a 9-year-old wrote it and that he has a long way ahead of him.
He got back to me, saying it was the most useful feedback he ever received. I thought he's just having a laugh.
When I asked him if he's only joking, he answered saying it wasn't even serious writing and it took him about five minutes to jot the stuff down, but he had some other writing he'd like feedback for.

Guess you can imagine my response. Yep, told him where to shove it.

As an editor I find it insulting that someone would send me such a text for feedback. I would have given him credit for not being a native, but jotting down some shite and asking me for feedback is plain rude and a waste of my time. I could have written an e-mail, made a coffee, given the iguana a head rub, edited my own stuff...
That said, next time someone random asks for feedback, they can pay cash upfront. Simple as that.


  1. Wow! That's crazy and really insulting to have someone waste your time in that way!

    1. I thought so, too. You know, if someone struggles with a scene and has worked back and forth and doesn't know what else to do and asks, fine. I send my newly written first draft scenes, including some bloopers, to a friend, too. But they have taken me at least two hours or a whole evening and lots of thoughts went into writing them.
      But that was just ridiculous. I think he just wanted to take a piss.