Friday, January 21, 2011

Letting Your Family Read Your Work

Over at the The Graceful Doe's Blog she did a post on Why You Shouldn't Ask Your Spouse's Opinion. I've seen this kind of advice before: don't let your family read your manuscript. I understand the reasoning; family members will have a biased opinion for their loved ones, they are excited to see what you've worked so hard on, and they don't want to hurt your feelings.

Well, that's most families.

My oldest (teen) daughter has always been an avid reader. She is excellent with grammar and punctuation, and can offer an in-depth review of the books she's read. Even though I was working with a critique partner, I really wanted a teen to read my young adult novel, and I thought she could be quite handy to have in my corner. I say could, with a grain of salt and a dash of hope, because she can also be quite critical.

In fact, for over a year she downright refused to read it.

At first when I asked, she said s didn't want to because she didn't think I would even finish writing it.

Fair enough.

When I asked her to read my completed and revised manuscript, she quite honestly replied, "I don't think I'm going to like it."

Okay, I know that was harsh. Please don't judge her. Trust me, I'm judging her enough for all of us. Just kidding. We really do have a wonderful relationship.

Then one day she said if I wanted to download it onto her Nook, she would read it. I casually said, "Okay, whatev."

I had to force myself to leave her alone, and not stare over her shoulder. I thought I would literally crawl out of my skin, waiting for her to finish.

Luckily, she is a fast reader.

Thankfully, she couldn't put it down.

But then the brat my lovely daughter didn't say anything. I tried not to push her, coolly asking, "So ... uh, what'd ya think?"

She flashed me a funny smile and sighed. I immediately realized what was going on -- she doesn't like to admit when she's wrong. I kept a straight face and waited. Finally, she said, "It's awesome."

That honestly is a moment I will never forget. It meant so much to me. As did her excitement as she discussed a certain character and that characters conclusion.

So, that's my story. Do you have a story about sharing your work with family?


  1. I also write picture books and have found my preschooler son is a great sounding board for these. I know I'm onto a good story when he keeps asking to read it again and I know if it's not working if he's getting bored and losing interest while I'm reading.

  2. That's awesome! And I completely agree with. You. If you have a family member who will be totally honest with you and not worry about sparing your feelings then by all means utilize them! I do! I just stay away from the ones who I know will tell me what I want to hear.

  3. thegracefuldoe - It must make you so happy when he wants to read one of yours again and again? That's great!

    Heather - Thanks! And I know she will NEVER tell me what I want to hear. lol. Kids. Gotta love 'em.

  4. Awwww! That's sweet. I have a teen daughter (15) and I know it's a spectacular compliment to get that stamp of approval. Nothing is so brutally honest as a teenaged girl. :) (Though I have some wonderfully tough and honest CPs.)

    This is my first visit here and I'm now your newest follower/friend.

  5. Lola - You're so right, teen girls are BRUTALLY honest. Good luck with yours!
    Thanks for following and a big hug to you!