Recently, a close friend of mine has started writing very short novels. From a conversation we had, I could clearly tell that she is very proud of the fruit of her labor and seriously considers writing professionally.

I accepted to provide feedback, which she has been eager to receive. I now regret this decision, for I find myself unable to formulate a single compliment about the first two samples she sent me. To be blunt: she hasn't proof-read herself and it shows.

Time pressure is piling up too, as she has sent me a third short and specifically asked for my opinion about the two previous writings, clearly expecting praise.

I can foresee that she would be deeply hurt by strongly negative critics, especially given how highly she regards her own work. Nonetheless, I want to remain as honest as possible.

How can I give my friend the feedback she demands while not hurting her feelings nor being dishonest?

  • I have to add that I haven't responded to either of her messages yet.
    – Alexis
    Commented Feb 17, 2020 at 0:27
  • 1
    Hi Alexis and welcome to the site! We have a couple past questions about giving feedback to friends on their creative works - do either of these help you? How can I tell a friend that their self-published book needs editing? (more about needing proofreading) or How to tell my friend his novel's ending is too predictable but he should keep writing it? (more about the content).
    – Em C
    Commented Feb 17, 2020 at 2:55
  • 2
    @EmC How did I miss those! The second question and its answers are exactly what I need, thanks!
    – Alexis
    Commented Feb 17, 2020 at 8:18
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    @Alexis: Even then it might be still a good idea to either change the title, or the bottom line question, so future readers, can feel more certain about the marked duplicate leading to what they are looking for. :)
    – dhein
    Commented Feb 17, 2020 at 8:25
  • 2
    Hey Alexis! I've marked your question as a duplicate, so we can keep answers in one place. It will also make a good signpost, a place for people other people to find the other question. If at any point you start struggling with any of the answers, or get stuck, feel free to ask a new question to point out how the answers there didn't answer your question :)
    – Tinkeringbell
    Commented Feb 17, 2020 at 8:41


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