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Showing writing to family

(8 Posts)
Dancinglaughingdrinkingloving Wed 26-Nov-14 09:19:14

I've just self-published, am really proud of my book and it has been enjoyed by several people - all complete strangers. Family and friends now know about it and some are reading it (including MIL). It's been such a big surprise to everyone that I even wrote anything, and I'm so nervous about them reading it - I feel like I am naked in the street with my soul exposed, even though my book is only light and funny chick lit!
How do you cope with having family read your stuff?

skylark2 Wed 26-Nov-14 12:24:53

Congratulations on finishing your book and I hope your friends and family enjoy it smile

I'd have to say it doesn't really worry me. DH beta-reads for me anyway. DB isn't interested in fiction, and my DPs hate the genre I write in, so I have no expectations that they'd like anything I write - they wouldn't even if it was Nobel prize quality.

I think what I might find awkward is people like SIL and MIL feeling obliged to read it and praise it. I'd rather not make a big deal of it. They know I write for fun and if they wanted to read what I've written it would be dead easy for them to find it online. If they ever have they haven't mentioned it, and I won't be suggesting it.

Dancinglaughingdrinkingloving Wed 26-Nov-14 13:14:46

Thanks skylark. My MIL has been v excited and telling all her friends shock and I know she has downloaded it herself...she also reads a LOT of books in my genre.
It's all been a bit too much for my nerves -the big 'reveal' of 'look what Dancing's been up to' (nobody had the slighest idea. It really is the surprise of the century) plus them now actually reading it...! I wish they would just read it and make no comment but I know that's not going to happen!

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Wed 26-Nov-14 13:40:47

Congratulations on finishing and publishing, Dancing.
Do come and join us on the self-publishing thread.

I was more nervous when my mum read mine than when I sent it out to agents - partly because she's not one of those mums who thinks everything their kids do is brilliant.

DH hasn't read my work. He's too scared in case he doesn't like it, so I'm not going to push him. He's supportive in other ways (like helping me track down books for research or arranging trips to relevant places) so I don't worry about him not wanting to.

Otherwise, I just pump people mercilessly for critical comments that I can use to help me improve. It's nice when people love it but it's more helpful to know what's wrong.

Dancinglaughingdrinkingloving Wed 26-Nov-14 14:36:20

Thanks thecountess, I have told her I value her opinion and look forward to her thoughts (which is true) the same time all I'm thinking is the fact I have written 'fuck' about twenty times, that there is an amusing (hopefully) scene about pubes and what if she confuses me with the main character and thinks I have had a drunken dalliance with another man!!!!

BigPawsBrown Thu 27-Nov-14 15:54:02

I don't, really. I particularly struggle with the issue that if ONE thing matches a person in real life to a character, they will conclude that everything that character thinks and does is what you think the person thinks and does. I used the kernels of my life - a close relationship with my father, for example - and extrapolated it, but everyone thought the MC was me and the father was him, when they're not. I don't like that on two levels - 1. It's wrong and presumptuous and 2. It indicates they don't think I am writing fictitious things, which is alarming for a fiction writer.

Thankfully apart from a few passive aggressive remarks, nobody in my family said they outright didn't like it or think it was any good, and my sister, a voracious reader, said it was really good and my dad said he'd not realised how engaging my style was. I'll take those comments happily with me for the rest of my life, so it can be a good thing, too. I have lost sleep over what my wider circle of friends will think if it is published, but I try to tell myself this is a good quality problem to have,

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Thu 27-Nov-14 16:22:06

I heard Margaret Atwood give some lectures on fiction in which she mentioned that problem, BigPaws - she said (IIRC) you steal your aunt's purple cardigan and then everyone assumes you've stolen everything else about her life as well.

I remember an ENORMOUS row with my parents as a teen which practically had me moving out of the house when my dad found something I was writing which was in the first person and he assumed it was about him.

Luckily with historical people don't jump to that conclusion quite so easily.

Dancinglaughingdrinkingloving Thu 27-Nov-14 17:44:28

bigpaws, you are so right. That's exactly one of the things I'm worried about - that they will somehow latch on to the idea that I have written about someone in the family or that the MC is me - no on both counts!

countess, how awful.

When you're writing, you're so immersed that you don't think about the horror of showing your family, further down the line shock.

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