The question was how to jump in and advise a newbie they were making mistakes.
The deal I’ve made with paying it forward is this: If someone asks me for help, I warn them that I’m truly analytical. (Usually by that point they know, but I still feel obligated to say so.) I go over what they give me and work hard to identify both strengths and weaknesses, and also to communicate where that person is, in my opinion, in relation to reaching professional writer status. I also give suggestions on what to do with the work at hand to get it out the door for indie, trad, or small press publication.
A lot of people thank me and drift backwards out of my life; some of them stick around and tease me for being so analytical (which honestly I enjoy). A few people ingest and transform–rarely in a way that I expect.
Truth isn’t a highly-valued commodity, but that doesn’t mean that the people who value it don’t exist–but they’re far more likely to be the people who come looking for you.
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