A link in the Village Voice by screenwriter Josh Olson, which I saw on the blog of SFF Guru Lou Anders. Lou says:
I am so grateful that he spelled out a few things. He starts off with a many paragraph refusal–“I will not read your fucking script”–and then goes on to say, “At this point, you should walk away, firm in your conviction that I’m a dick. But if you’re interested in growing as a human being and recognizing that it is, in fact, you who is the dick in this situation, please read on.”
The full article is very well worth reading, but this point especially I’m glad he made:
“This needs to be clear–when you ask a professional for their take on your material, you’re not just asking them to take an hour or two out of their life, you’re asking them to give you–gratis–the acquired knowledge, insight, and skill of years of work. It is no different than asking your friend the house painter to paint your living room during his off hours.”
It’s interesting. There are more encouraging ways to go about this, and I would perhaps dangerously be much more polite than Josh Olson, but then again I’ve not been asked to look at all that many manuscripts recently. I daresay that I’d read friends’ work though – it only takes a few minutes to offer some quick advice, and having worked most sides of the publishing industry, I know (and hate) how mysterious it all seems to those on the outside.
And if there are any painters with manuscripts who want to exchange expertise, I’ve still a spare room that needs decorating. Just sayin’.