Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Sorry, I can’t critique your manuscript

by Rob - September 11th, 2006.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

I get asked all the time if I’ll look at people’s manuscripts and offer an opinion. Another such request just showed up in my email box. Here’s what I had to say:

I’m afraid the answer is no, for a couple of reasons. First, because my lawyer has advised me not to read unpublished manuscripts, except in very narrow circumstances, lest someday I publish something of my own that bears even a passing resemblance to something I’ve been shown, and the person who showed it to me decides to take legal action. It’s just not worth the risk, he says, and he’s probably right. :)

And second because people pay good money to have me critique manuscripts — in July, I was writer-in-residence at the Odyssey workshop, this month I’m teaching SF writing at the Banff Centre in Alberta, and next month I start a two-month stint as Writer-in-Residence at the Kitchener (Ontario) Public Library. It’s unfair to those people (the Odyssey students, the Banff students, and the Kitchener Public Library) who have paid me to critique manuscripts for me to also do freebies on the side — and, no, I’m not looking for money from you; I’ve simply got way to many manuscripts to critique as is for those three gigs (at total of 50 between them) that I can’t take on any more.

So — sorry! But best of luck!

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