Miss Manners: My greatest buddy’s second novel is worse than her first


Pricey Miss Manners: Certainly one of my greatest buddies determined, in her retirement, to write down novels. She has already self-published one, which was dreadful, however luckily I wasn’t requested to weigh in on it.

Now she has despatched me a draft of her second novel, which she has been engaged on for greater than two years. This time, she requested me for suggestions.

It’s completely terrible — worse than her first guide. I don’t know what to say. I actually worth her friendship.

There’s a query Miss Manners might want to ask first, and one she additionally directs at anybody who was about to counsel that honesty is all the time the perfect coverage: Was the request for suggestions an trustworthy query?

In case your buddy is simply looking for reward — and can seemingly argue with constructive criticism — that’s not a purpose to lie, however it’s a purpose to think about what can be gained from an trustworthy reply that alienates her with out enhancing her writing.

It’s also, maybe, a purpose to forged about for a hiding place. If we rule out altering your title and fleeing the nation, the next-best recommendation could also be to protest that you’re not a author; or, in case you are, you aren’t a novelist; or, in case you are, you aren’t a romance novelist; or, in case you are … effectively, at this level Miss Manners will rely by yourself abilities at fiction.

Pricey Miss Manners: My good buddy is having her first grandchild. She requested me to make a quilt for the child, which I did. Quilts will not be low-cost, so I requested if it may very well be my reward to the child. She was thrilled and mentioned sure.

My daughter, who’s buddies with the mom-to-be, is upset that I’m not shopping for a present from the registry. Am I messing up?

For handcrafting a present that took you a while and shall be remembered by the household when the animated tummy mat is celebrating its tenth anniversary within the landfill — as a substitute of taking 15 seconds to verify a field and push a button on an internet site? Miss Manners hopes not.

Pricey Miss Manners: Throughout my dwelling renovation, at one level I put my contractor on speakerphone with a vendor in order that they may talk about a sure product’s technical specs. My contractor interrupted and was gruff with the seller, whom I discovered to be courteous and useful.

I didn’t really feel proper “scolding” my contractor — who was all the time well mannered to me — however I additionally didn’t be ok with how he spoke to the seller. Is there something I may have or ought to have finished, both within the second or afterward?

Because the employer, it’s your good title on the road, so Miss Manners agrees that you’ve got an obligation to intervene when issues go fallacious. She additionally realizes that there could also be related prior historical past of which the contractor is conscious however you aren’t. She subsequently advises beginning with a query: “Is there an issue with this vendor? Is it one thing that you just want my help on?”

Making a contractor conscious that you’re paying consideration is commonly sufficient to avoid wasting you the disagreeable necessity of explaining that you just anticipate him and his staff to deal with different staff with the identical courtesy he has proven you.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday by means of Saturday on You possibly can ship inquiries to Miss Manners at her web site, You too can observe her @RealMissManners.

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