1. Sunny1000
    Offline

    Sunny1000 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    1

    Too Close for Comfort - Sharing your stories with loved ones

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Sunny1000, May 8, 2013.

    Allow me to explain my interest in this topic.

    I have never shared any of my creative writing with loved ones (until now, dun dun duuuuun). Just 2 weeks ago I allowed my husband to read the first chapter of a story I am working on, "The first chapter only and not a word more" I think were my exact words. This was probably one of the most terrifying experiences I have ever put myself through. The waiting as he read (slowly >:Z), the wondering what he would think, the criticism he may reign down on me it all made me want to vomit.

    Here's the interesting thing: I wouldn't feel like that giving my work to a complete stranger (which I have) to critique. I'm assuming it's because I do not have an emotional investment with a stranger.

    I would go so far as to writing under a pen name to avoid my loved ones reading my books. If I finish the novel, I wouldn't want my husband to read it (not because of content, but because of...something I can't put words to, maybe something akin to fear). I would never, ever want my parents to read my work (probably a result of Tiger parenting), or my brother...my brain is hemorrhaging at the thought.

    So I am interested in all of you, experienced writers or novices! My questions are:

    1. When was the first time - as an adult - that you showed someone really close to you a piece of work? How was the experience?

    2. Is there anyone in your life whom you would prefer not to read your work?
     
  2. Garball
    Offline

    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Messages:
    2,846
    Likes Received:
    1,331
    Location:
    S'port, LA
    I am letting my wife read the second draft of my first manuscript. She wants to read the entire book before giving any feedback. Every time I look at her while she is reading, I try to figure out her facial expressions. Does she like it? Hate it? It is driving me insane. I would much rather have an auditorium full of strangers read my work while I stood spotlighted on a rickety stool trying to cover my mostly naked self with a short T-shirt and balancing an egg on a pencil.
     
  3. Anthony Martin
    Offline

    Anthony Martin Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    San Diego
    RE: #2

    Personally, I am a proponent of getting your work out to readers, whoever they might be. If you are truly dedicated to the craft of writing, you should be prepared to face the praise, criticism and anger that attend "putting yourself out there", so to speak. Not only has this openness helped me to earn my stripes as a writer, it has furnished me with experiences--painful and otherwise--that inform my writing.
     
  4. ThePotato
    Offline

    ThePotato Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2013
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    I feel like I am writing for my friends and family when I write; I want them to read it, and I want them to enjoy it. I do worry sometimes that I am writing things that are too personal for the eyes of my loved ones, and I feel it'd be embarrassing if they read it, but I still yearn for that feeling you get when somebody you know enjoys something you made - it is daunting waiting for their impressions, but I think that is more a feeling of excitement than fear.

    I hate the idea that a loved one would dislike my work, though - that is a terrible feeling.
     
  5. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I forced my husband to read my first m/s and it was a very unsatisfying experience. He's read a couple of my short stories and the experience has been equally unsatisfying. I don't get much out of him other than "It was good." or "It was interesting." If I asked him what he liked, I usually get "I don't know." If I asked him what he didn't like, I also get "I don't know."

    My parents have never read anything I've written, and I have a weird feeling about it. I feel like they'd be wondering, "where did she get this?" My main m/s is about a marriage and extended family. The MC's mother is loosely based on my grandmother (my father's mother). But, otherwise the family isn't really like my family, and they're more religious than my family, and I have a sense that my parents would think that was strange.

    I wish I had a family member or close friend who could give me some good critique. I've had much more success with some critique groups.
     
  6. nastyjman
    Offline

    nastyjman Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2010
    Messages:
    317
    Likes Received:
    136
    Location:
    NYC
    My boyfriend is my beta reader. And he is brutal, and I love him for that. He asks a lot of questions, which is indicative of my fault as a writer, not explaining or giving more detail to the reader. At first, I was put off by his remarks, thinking, brooding that he didn't want me to reach my goal of becoming a writer (what a jerk I was).

    I thought about his questions and remarks more, and my writing had improved. The fear is natural because we don't want to look like a failure in the eyes of our loved ones. But if they love you and support you, the last thing you want them to say is, "It's very good. I think it's perfect." If that's what you hear, ask for specifics, try to draw out what might be bothering them. Ask them to be brutal.
     
  7. Michael O
    Offline

    Michael O Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    6
    I've read some of your writing and it's top-shelf. Not that I would pick your book up, read the back cover and be interested in that genre. I would guess it's the same with your husband. It's a guy thing.

    Saw your post and read your disappointment not being invited. Made me think of a true story......

    This guy sneaks in and finds a vacant office, sets up shop and goes to work. A couple of people are quickly onto him but do nothing and just prefer to watch. At first they find it funny and entertaining. Fooling people, QED because the guy knows what he's talking about. Soon he's impressed them and no doubt the guy has talent. He spreads like a virus. The rest is history and Steven Spielberg is now a household name. He wanted something so much and found a way in.

    Like we used to say in Alabama......"What's the worst that can happen?" Hmmmm......Are you from Chicago or what? :)
     
  8. TerraIncognita
    Offline

    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,339
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Texas
    To the op, yes I am absolutely that way. I don't know why for sure. My friends were my readers when I first started writing seriously. They loved it and wanted to read more so it encouraged me to write more. haha My dad has actually read a bit of my writing when I left one of my notebooks sitting out one day. I was mortified but he said he thought it was really good. So I guess that's something. Presently my bf is one of the few people who reads what I write. Primarily because he also writes and he is a skilled writer at that so I value his constructive criticism quite a bit and I can trust him not to hijack my stuff or spread it around. I'm not entirely sure if/when I will ever publish it so I'd like to keep that option open and not post it online anywhere.

    I think it's a vulnerability thing. When I write I'm pouring my heart and soul into it. It's difficult to bare your soul to someone you love because you stand to lose more if they reject you or find it asinine. I get ridiculously embarrassed whenever someone I care about reads something I wrote. People you love know you well enough to connect the dots and see where things in your writing correlate to your life whereas strangers cannot do that.
     
  9. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Thanks, Michael. My husband is not much of a book reader, so he's not the ideal reader or critiquer. It can generally be very difficult to find a great critiquer, because you need someone who can express their thoughts about the writing and at least likes to read your genre.

    My fantasy as far as that writing conference was more about getting to spend a week with other writers in a really nice setting. A whole week to focus on writing would be really awesome. I found a writer's group that meets live once a month (via meetup) near me, and it's become one of my favorite activities. Every other month they have a mini-critique session (for about 5 pages), and occasionally they'll have sessions to critique longer works (about 15 pages). It's tough, as far as a novel, to get a good critique of anything but the beginning 15 pages, because I always end up having to explain so much if the section is from the middle portion of the story. But it's been really great for short stories.

    As far as "It's a guy thing," I get what you're saying, and it is true that there are more women readers than men readers. But, I don't agree that it's so much a "guy thing." There are a LOT of men in the meetup writing group, and they give some fantastic criticism and write some good stuff. There are also a few men in my book club (I really wish there were more, but that's another issue), and some of them LOVE stories that would be categorized as "Women's Fiction" (which is another pet peeve of mine -- it so needs another name, because a lot of men read and write what is classified as "Women's Fiction"). We just read a story that I really didn't like -- I thought it was the epitome of 'chick lit' and I was so irritated by one of the female MCs because I found her so freakin' annoying. But one of the men in the group loved it and recommended it to others.
     
  10. KaTrian
    Offline

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    5,566
    Likes Received:
    3,563
    Location:
    The Great Swamp
    I've tried to make my brother read my stuff, but he's always too busy. When I still wrote in Finnish (until I realized the language is way too hard for me), my mum always read the stuff. It's never been a problem. I used to share writings with my dad, who likes to write poems, but that was years ago. It'd be different if I wrote erotica, that I wouldn't share with siblings or parents 'cause even though they know I'm a sexual being, it just feels inherently weird.

    Not really. I write with my husband and we both pour our hearts and souls into the stories. One Israeli author whose name just completely escapes me said that (paraphrasing) even between lovers there's a chasm that they won't be able to bridge, something so deep and dark they should never share. Through our writing we have shared a lot, and so far it hasn't been harmful. The same goes with the family. We're all humans, we can't pretend otherwise. As a writer, I feel like what I put on the page, I should be able to share with everyone and with my own face, even own name. (Granted, we use a pseudonym for clarity, but our names and pictures are clearly visible in our blog). But like I said, our genre allows it.
     
  11. Michael O
    Offline

    Michael O Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    6
    Not quite sure where the genre of what I have written lies. How do you categorize something that has slaves, lynching, killing and WWII to start. Moves to kids in the natural world and rednecks in LA, prison in Nicaragua, world travel and family reunion in the middle. Then closes with elephants and love.

    And to top it off......A no good knuckle dragging redneck tried to unify it with love, love of family and the natural world. Sometime wonder if my parents took acid trips before I was born? :)

    [/QUOTE]As far as "It's a guy thing," I get what you're saying,[/QUOTE]

    Can not deny anyone those "brief moments of clarity."

    With that being said........Only guys can really understand it. It's an innate gender-base knowledge of Neanderthalism. And while living there, I have my moments of clarity and try to move away from the herd-clan. But after a few steps, I forget where I'm going and what I'm trying to do. If I can think outside the box, can I write outside the box? Or am I still in the same box? Haven't figured that one out yet. :)

    [/QUOTE]I thought it was the epitome of 'chick lit' and I was so irritated by one of the female MCs because I found her so freakin' annoying.[/QUOTE]

    :)Chick-Lit......I see connections that help it stick.

    Not touting this, just reading and wondering.

    Chicken Little.....The sky is falling! The sky is falling! A stupid chicken story. Or more accurate, a story of a stupid chicken. Can't remember what konked the barn-yard fryer in the noggin but she was a stupid hen before the story began, it's a chicken thing. Plus there's a rythme flow to the two words.

    It's an allegory. Women writers are reduced to the level of a stupid chicken pecking around the barnyard that takes an acorn (it came back to me) blow to the head then runs around frantically screaming the sky is falling. So a story of stupid hen, its rythme and Wa-La.....Chick-Lit.

    One of these days I'll probably get booted off this site for thinking out-loud. In cyberspace, they always record your thoughts.

    If Descartes wrote today, "I think, therefore I am."

    Somewhere down the line would be a moron who would vomit back up the line, "Hello! 911?! There's some crazy guy here who thinks he a ham!"

    "Oh shit! Get to a safe place and stay down! It's going to get messy! Sniper team is in route with high-power hickory chips to smoke his ass!"
     
  12. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I have no idea what you are trying to say here.


    My understanding of your sentiment was not some brief moment of clarity. I believe I adequately explained my take on this, and it is not something about which I was puzzled.
     
  13. BUDDY GORGEOUS
    Offline

    BUDDY GORGEOUS Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Alaska
    1. When was the first time - as an adult - that you showed someone really close to you a piece of work? How was the experience? and Is there anyone in your life whom you would prefer not to read your work?

    Like many of you I have been writing snippets, flash fiction, short stories and novella's since I was a young man. It wasn't until I was 20 years old that I showed my mother and father a scene from a novella of mine called Mr Cave. They had been picking at me, wanting to read something! anything! to see what it was that i was up to and working on. They finished it with praise but something behind their eyes said something else. Eventually I found that my father didn't like the idea of his son writing such dark material. My father isn't a prude by any means. He has been in the armed forces for twenty two years and seen the worst that people can do. We enjoy the same films and music... you get the idea, but he didn't like the fact my mind could conjure such dark things and it took my a long time to convince him I am not insane with thoughts of turning someone into a skin lamp shade, haha. Since then I have been wary showing my work to members of my family. Now, six years on, my mother enjoys reading pieces of my work and so does my partner, who being a school teacher, provides me with constructive criticism and advice aswell as encouragement. But I am now pretty much open to people wanting to read my writing. I don't spill all the beans though, I give a scene or a paragraph hoping they'd want to read more, haha.
     
  14. tomfoolery
    Offline

    tomfoolery New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    SoCal
    1. I used to be really sensitive about who reads my writing, but recently I've gotten better about sharing it with my friends and family. I guess the earliest time I can remember sharing my work with a loved one is at the beach with a close friend of mine. We both like to write sometimes, so it wasn't bad, but still nerve-racking. I remember one time in 3rd grade maybe my brother found some of my writing in the printer. I nearly died of embarrassment.
    2. My parents. If they ever read my writing they'd disown me.
     
  15. killbill
    Offline

    killbill Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    where the mind is without fear...
    Forget family, the only time I allowed a close friend to read a short story of mine was after I had gotten very good reviews from complete strangers. My family doesn't know that some of my short stories have already been published, and they might never ever know, except if I win the Nobel Prize or something.
     

Share This Page