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AIBU?

To feel this gutted about DH and my book

295 replies

Mrsaspiringauthor · 05/10/2022 07:08

I probably am. Just surprised by how hurt I feel.

I’m one of those people who has wanted to write a book for years but lacked the confidence. I loved writing as a child but had a bad experience when toxic mother (now NC) found some of my writing and was so sneery about it I didn’t write again.

I had an idea for a novel years ago and earlier this year found the confidence to start writing it. At first I felt really uncomfortable about it and just imagined my mum looking over my shoulder and sneering at it. But I kept going and after a few weeks and 10,000 words found that I was really enjoying it. I’m now 155000 words into a novel that will hopefully be 450k words (big sweeping saga) and have absolutely fallen in love with writing again, I get so much enjoyment from bot the writing and the research as well as plotting, developing characters etc. It’s so hard to judge your own writing but I think what I’ve written so far is ok.

Have talked to DH about the book as I write it and he’s been reasonably interested. He actually has more of a background in writing than I do in terms of what he studied at Uni and parts of his job. I haven’t told anyone else I’m writing and asked him if he’d read what I’ve written so far. It felt like a big deal to share my writing with someone else and I told him to only read it when he has time.

Anyway he was away for a few days with lots of free time (ended up being much more than expected) and he said he’d read it then.

He got back yesterday and I guess I was hoping he’d bring it up and tell me what he thought. Eventually I asked him if he’d read it and he said, oh yeah meant to say, yeah I really liked it. He’d read only about 40 pages (he is a fast reader so not much for him) and didn’t seem to have much else to say about it. I asked him what he thought of a few aspects of it and he was very positive but didn’t seem to have put much thought into it.

I guess I’m just thinking about how it would have been if the roles were reversed, I’d have made the time to read it all and would have had lots to say even if I thought it was crap. At the very least I’d have said well done for picking up your own again and writing 1/3 of a book.

He has always made me feel as if he always has something more important than me going on so I guess it’s just a sore point. There’s always work to be done (he’s very invested in his job), a cup of tea to make it a pot to watch or a task that needs finished. Even on our wedding day I felt I hardly saw him as he was ‘just going to speak to X Y or Z - a couple of people joked on the day that I’d lost my husband as he was always off with someone else.

No snark please as I just feel really sad, I guess I just wanted a bit more encouragement.

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Am I being unreasonable?

898 votes. Final results.

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You are being unreasonable
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You are NOT being unreasonable
43%
Herejustforthisone · 05/10/2022 07:42

Well done on writing, especially having the discipline to write over 150k words.

What are your plans for the book? 450k is inordinately long. Are you going to break it down into a series of five novels? Typical novel length is 90-100k. I think you’d struggle to find an agent for a ‘saga’ that long. And if you did, they’d struggle to place it. Breaking it down would make it more commercially viable, and even attractive to agents and publishers as they’ve already got a string of five books.

If you’re writing just for you, then do as you wish.

However, I think you were hoping your husband would put a salve on the damage caused by your mother’s cruelty, which is putting too much pressure on him. He probably just glanced over a few pages and didn’t realise you were hoping for an agent-like read through and feedback.

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Findahouse21 · 05/10/2022 07:43

I'd love to give it a read if you want other testers

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CellarBellaatemycoal · 05/10/2022 07:44

Do you think somewhere deep down, you felt that writing the book would get you the attention, validation and… love? that you crave?

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Needmorelego · 05/10/2022 07:49

Is it the type of genre he would normally read?
If it isn't he might not know what to compare it to, or what style is popular in that genre so he can't really give a full opinion on it.
Maybe join a writing group so you can get views of people who are into that genre.

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Permanentterriblehairday · 05/10/2022 07:49

A close relative asked me to read his book and give feedback. I really didn't like the book. Not my kind of thing at all, and i saw quite a lot of mistakes and poor dialogue. It was REALLY hard to give feedback. It's a genre i hate and wouldn't choose to read. I wouldn't be thrilled about reading a sweeping romantic saga either for example. I did it because i love the person who wrote it but id rather he'd found a proper beta reader who could give honest feedback and not me.

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Rainbowcat99 · 05/10/2022 07:51

Well done for picking up your writing again, it's always amazing to have something in your life that you love doing and in that way it doesn't actually matter if it's "good" or not.
What's your end goal for your sweeping saga of a book though?
I'm asking because if you want to get published rather than just write for fun then you are going to have to toughen up a huge amount. People will be disinterested and critical throughout your journey and you'll need an inner resilience and self belief to cope with that.
Can I suggest you join a writing group and/or a creative writing class? It'll be good for you to receive feedback in a more positive way and it'll help you assess in a more balanced way how good your writing is.
Good luck!

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dudsville · 05/10/2022 07:51

I think it's a fair request of one's partner to show interest and enthusiasm in a project or topic meaningful to us, and if he cared about this aspect of being your partner he easily could have. The problem is that he didn't care to, and as an artist you may be more inclined to wearing your heart on your sleeve, and that's a tricky pairing. I used to be in a relationship with someone who wasn't interested in my projects. It wasn't the reason i left but it was on my list of supporting evidence!

Now that you know this about him you can pull back from wanting him to be a partner to you in this way, but it's a tough way to learn that lesson.

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krystalweedon · 05/10/2022 07:52

Reading the first unfinished draft of a manuscript is bound to be hard going. First drafts are never much cop as you are telling yourself the story. In subsequent drafts you develop the story to tell to others. Wait until you have done a couple of drafts then ask him to take another look.

BTW, if you are aiming for publication, 450k is far too long.

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kingtamponthefurred · 05/10/2022 07:53

If you want an honest critique of your work it's best to employ a beta reader. Or ask a friend whom you can trust to be absolutely candid.

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Testina · 05/10/2022 07:58

I echo those saying it’s hard to read a genre you don’t enjoy.
I want to say - but if you love someone, you’d do it.
But I love my niece and she gives me fantasy creatures at war type pieces, and I hate them. Literally cannot focus to the end of a sentence sometimes, it’s so dull to me. She’s an amateur and it shows, but I can’t get through Harry Potter either - whatever your opinion on high brow literary merit of that, you can’t argue that it’s not very popular! But for me - no.
If a sweeping family saga isn’t for him (and if that’s a third of it, it’s very long…) it won’t just be a lack of care that will hold him up reading it.

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thecatsthecats · 05/10/2022 08:02

I'm a writer, and I have to sympathise with your husband, for a few reasons:

  1. I know that it is impossible to keep the desperate desire for approval and validation from your nearest and dearest from your eyes. That's a heavy burden.
  2. Knowing that, you're asking him to put on an Oscar worthy performance of appreciation.
  3. And all the while, at this stage, your book is likely to be far from good, let alone perfect. That's not to say it's never going to be! But one day you'll look back from the position of a brilliantly edited manuscript and think, wow, I thought THAT was good.

    So he can't win. And if he's familiar with writing, he'll know it, and if he's familiar with the fact that you've been crushed before, he'll be really conscious of not doing that.
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DorritLittle · 05/10/2022 08:03

Well done for all those words!

I would recommend now getting on a writing course. At Strathclyde university for example they have an online mentoring run by the creative writing tutor. I have done his online courses and they are brilliant for feedback at all levels of being a writer. But the mentoring option is for people who have written novel drafts.

It is really tough and a bit awkward, critiquing the writing of people you know.

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MerryMarigold · 05/10/2022 08:03

I'm torn here.

I can see his point of view that he's caught between a rock and a hard place, wanting to encourage you but equally needing to be a bit honest and scared he can't be as nice about it as you need him to be. Anyone I lived I would feel like that, my parents, sister, my children. So I don't think I could do it. My Dad has written a book and he's not asked me to read it, and I haven't offered.

I also think you're over sensitive if you've grown up with a critical parent.

On the other hand, I would want a lot of support from my husband. He should be your biggest cheer leader. Has he supported you in other ways such as encouraging you to write, giving you the space to write? Encouraging you when you felt like stopping? If yes, then I would let this bit of it go. If not, and give her to do this all off your own bat, then he doesn't sound like a loving husband and I'm not sure what the rest of your relationship is like.

In terms of feeling second best, this is an issue to address. If you're going back to your wedding day then maybe it's just been bright up by this issue, or maybe it is 'real'. Think about that issue though. It's horrible to feel unimportant to the person who should love and prioritise you most in the world. How much love, care and attention does he normally give you? If you're mother was abusive maybe you have a low rather than high expectation. Would you feel better alone? Without expecting somebody to prioritise you. Something to think about...

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Mrsaspiringauthor · 05/10/2022 08:03

Thanks everyone for good advice. I think I will join a writing group, there’s one near me, and a critique circle. I guess it is maybe unfair to ask him to read it as he can’t really say if he doesn’t like. It isn’t the kind of book he would usually read to be fair.

I am definitely open to criticism and would welcome it, I want the novel to be as good as it can be and will take as much advice as I can.

This is the first time I’ve posted about my book anywhere so I’m shocked that 450k is too long! It’s a big historical novel that would be about 900 pages in print - is that really too long? I’ve read a few big sagas of that length and am aiming for that genre. How do first time writers of novels that size get published if that’s too long?

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Mrsaspiringauthor · 05/10/2022 08:04

And yes I guess I would like to try to get it published when it’s finished though am well aware it’ll probably be self publishing.

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AutumnScream · 05/10/2022 08:04

I also think yab overly sensitive. Writing is hugely rewarding and personal and you need to develop a tougher skin and stop putting the blame on others like your mother for not being interested meaning you havent written in years, or your husband giving you positive feedback means your upset.

What do you want to do with this book when its done because it sounds like you need to do a lot more research as 450k is far too much to be traditionally published and the fact you have written the posts as if.you think your first draft will be the finished product.

You need to pay for proper beta readers try on fivver.

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TacCat49 · 05/10/2022 08:05

You need to join a Writers Group. You would enjoy mixing with a group of like minded people.

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Mrsaspiringauthor · 05/10/2022 08:05

No, I know the first draft isn’t the finished product. This is actually about the third draft. I didn’t want to show anyone the first draft!

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Mrsaspiringauthor · 05/10/2022 08:08

Findahouse21 · 05/10/2022 07:43

I'd love to give it a read if you want other testers

Thank you! I will dm you.

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OnTheBrinkOfChange · 05/10/2022 08:09

I'm just wondering about the length of the book. I am an author and my books are around 100,000 words long. Between 80 and 100,000 is standard. Yours will be half a million!

I agree with others that it was probably a mistake asking him to read it at all. If you've never had criticism of your writing, you have never experienced that visceral pain! It really is like someone telling you your baby is ugly.

A friend of mine edits books. To give proper criticism it takes several days for a normal length novel. That's working on it pretty much full time. What kind of advice are you asking from him?

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Dougieowner · 05/10/2022 08:09

I read a lot and tend to have three books on the go at any one time. One in my bag (for on the train, lunchtimes etc), another by the side of the bed and a third next to my comfy chair in the living room.
BUT...... If I picked up a book and within a couple of pages couldn't get "into it" then I will drop it.

Does your book interest him, is it the sort of thing he would normally read?

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Icanstillrecallourlastsummer · 05/10/2022 08:11

Oh OP, I think you have a hell of a lot riding on this book do to all the context and history. More than just "normal" amount of investment. Do you think perhaps he felt a bit pressurised? It sounds like he was positive and encouraging, although perhaps didn't go on as much as you would have liked? DO you think perhaps this writing process, and all the feelings related to it, have taken quite a big role in your relationship for quite a while and he has maybe lost a little steam in his encouragement? Maybe, given this is just a section of a very very long book (and I agree, it sounds too long) he hasnt' really appreciated the significance for you, nor what you were expecting from him in terms of feed back?

I have to say, one of my pet hates with DH is when he doesn't think I react "enough" to something he is telling me. I am not a performing monkey there to gush and enthuse about him!

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Notonthestairs · 05/10/2022 08:11

Dont worry about the length now. You'll probably cut loads.

Later you can decide whether to divide the story in to two books or a trilogy. I love a bit of Susan Howatch so I am not adverse to a longer than average novel.

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Hibernationsetting · 05/10/2022 08:11

450k words… that’s more than the entire chronicles of Narnia put together, or all of His Dark Materials…

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Brefugee · 05/10/2022 08:11

Congratulations on writing your novel. It sounds as though you're really enjoying it.

Did you give your DH 450k words to read and expect a detailed critique? That is a lot of pressure. I am an avid reader. I always have 3 books on the go and read everywhere. But if someone gives me a book, i read it when I'm ready and not when they want me to. (work and studies aside). And asking me to critique a massive work like that, knowing that you may not have a good reaction to adverse criticism if i don't like it or don't rate it?

Frankly? I wouldn't touch that with a bargepole. Sorry, OP, i know that's not what you want to hear. Perhaps the first couple of chapters and a synopsis of how it is going to develop would have been more manageable. Even if he offered and said he would, i wonder if he felt pressured?

Anyway, perhaps it may be better to join a writers' group where they critique each other's work? Don't let this put you off, though, keep going. It is obviously something you want to do and enjoy the process. That is worth a lot.

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