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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.

OP posts:
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Am I being unreasonable?

898 votes. Final results.

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You are being unreasonable
57%
You are NOT being unreasonable
43%
Rubiesue · 05/10/2022 09:19

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This message has been withdrawn at the poster's request

goldfinchonthelawn · 05/10/2022 09:20

This is why creative writing tutors encourage students never ot show work to their family.

He likes it. That's great. He has no idea he needs to say more. He may not know how to say more. Giving constructive feedback is a skill and I promise you you'd feel even more deflated if he had sat you down with a long list of its defects in his eyes.

You have enjoyed writing it and got into the flow of losing yourself in its world. That is way and above the most important part of writing. Because there is zero guarantee anyone outside will want to publish it. And even if they do, they'll want you to cut it by 50%, change the lead character, the novel's title etc. That's how the industry works. A couple of close friends are writers and these are the things they moan about when we get together.

Either enjoy it for its own sake or join a writing group that has a strong grasp of constructive feedback and guidelines for giving and receiving it. You'll grow fast as a writer that way but you'll need to learn to handle a lot of critical feedback and suggestions for revisions.

It seems odd but I genuinely think writing and partners need to be kept seaparte. the writers I know never even show a line to their husbands.

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marvik · 05/10/2022 09:21

I read MSS as a freelancer and currently read my husband's writing. This isn't fiction - it's for an academic project. I help him not just by saying works well, but what doesn't.

Writing is not just about the getting the ideas in your head down on paper. If you want it to be anything more than a private pursuit, it's about what readers want and the market place.

I imagine your husband is torn between a) being busy and perhaps reluctant to do what he does for work in his leisure time, b) wanting to support you and c) wanting to give you honest constructive criticism which you might find it hard to receive.

I think an important question to ask, is what do you read? Do you like long sagas and which ones do you enjoy? What do you think makes them so good? If you actually read relatively little, I'd suggest that you start seeking out the work of novelists who are covering similar territory - and then trying to learn from them.

Sometimes local writers circles can be supportive, while not really offering good advice for people who want to get published. Paying for courses and/or classes and/or critical feedback services might be a better bet in the long run.

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ReneBumsWombats · 05/10/2022 09:22

Nobody is in a position to criticise King because of his phenomenal success (plus he seems like a very nice guy), but I do think he needs harder editing...and he's famous for not being able to do endings. They even joked about it in his cameo in the latest It film.

I suppose not everyone reads books for the ending. Some people don't mind, as they enjoy the story as it goes and they find the journey to be the destination. It's always been a bit of a bugger for me with King, though, much as I respect him.

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BBBBMushroom · 05/10/2022 09:22

Carry on writing and love doing it for pleasure.

I know a few published authors and a couple of journalists. They are academics so books for a smaller audience, I have written for my own pleasure and I used to edit a newsletter for the University I worked for, in the days when we sent hard copy. I also used to proofread and have proofread a few PhD dissertations. Unfortunately for those reasons I have had a few people ask me to read their stories and as a favour I proof read a writing groups self published anthology every year.

Some of the stories are quite pleasurable to read but I have never read one that I think will get published. To my utter horror as soon as I met my friends new BF he gave me a self published anthology of his poems because she had told him I used to proofread.

I second getting a professional editor to read your work, it’s nice you want to share your passion but put’s him in a difficult spot.

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rookiemere · 05/10/2022 09:23

I feel sorry for the DH here. If he'd given detailed feedback I suspect OP would be complaining about him not supporting her and being overly critical.

Writing is a hobby , just like any other. Would one be expected to measure a spouse's muscle gain or monitor their running progress in great depth. Surely making sure the person has the time and freedom to explore their passions and being supportive by listening and being on their support team are all that is required.

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Brefugee · 05/10/2022 09:25

A series pays better on kindle unlimited so it's more profitable for the author

more fool them because i just don't start Grin
I get it - there are some where i just love the series and never want them to end (why did you have to die, Prof Tolkien?) and others where i just scream internally.

but this is a whole other topic which belongs elsewhere.

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ReneBumsWombats · 05/10/2022 09:25

Would one be expected to measure a spouse's muscle gain

My husband's very into strength training and fitness and I must say I don't mind, er, measuring his success...

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AssignedSlytherinAtBirth · 05/10/2022 09:28

Well done for writing, and it sounds like a really interesting idea for a novel (or five!). But I think you're projecting onto your DH. I know that mine would only read one page of romance/historical fiction and tell me it was 'good'. Unless it's his genre it's unfair to make him read it.

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Ahtoottoot · 05/10/2022 09:28

Writing is a hobby , just like any other

As a writer, no it bloody isn’t. It’s a difficult and demanding job. You might think a short article just gets written in half an hour but it doesn’t, it can take painstaking research. Writing a book takes many, many hours. It’s not ‘just a hobby’.

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ReneBumsWombats · 05/10/2022 09:30

Brefugee · 05/10/2022 09:25

A series pays better on kindle unlimited so it's more profitable for the author

more fool them because i just don't start Grin
I get it - there are some where i just love the series and never want them to end (why did you have to die, Prof Tolkien?) and others where i just scream internally.

but this is a whole other topic which belongs elsewhere.

They are generally popular, though. That's why people do them.

For all the talk about editors being ruthless and cutting stuff (and they do), there are some spaces where bulk is best. The kinds of books that get sold in supermarkets are often designed to be thick because they stand out on the shelf and people feel they'll get a longer entertainment time for the same amount of money. They tend to be very easy to read, though (not a criticism! Just explaining the appeal.).

It's worth remembering, though, that publishers don't know what's going to sell. All they know is what's sold in the past and what's selling now. As William Goldman said, nobody knows what makes a hit. If we did, every novel and film would be a runaway success and there'd never be a dud.

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ThunderstomsAreComing · 05/10/2022 09:30

Please do not show your work to friends and family @Mrsaspiringauthor - If you are serious about writing then show it to people who are in the industry. And if some don't like it send it to others. Look how many rejections JKR got for Harry Potter.

There are many classic, well respected, literary works that I just don't enjoy reading, so I don't. What you write might not be to your DHs taste - don't put him in that position, it's not fair to him and it will only make you miserable.

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krystalweedon · 05/10/2022 09:31

The Bone Season was published in 2013 when YA was booming. The market is tougher now, especially for YA but in general. Series are also tougher, so if the book has any chance to to be traditionally published it would need to be standalone with series potential as you say. And under a quarter of length!

All very true. Plus I think the market is going to get even tougher for all genres for the next few years.

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DragonflyNights · 05/10/2022 09:33

ReneBumsWombats · 05/10/2022 09:22

Nobody is in a position to criticise King because of his phenomenal success (plus he seems like a very nice guy), but I do think he needs harder editing...and he's famous for not being able to do endings. They even joked about it in his cameo in the latest It film.

I suppose not everyone reads books for the ending. Some people don't mind, as they enjoy the story as it goes and they find the journey to be the destination. It's always been a bit of a bugger for me with King, though, much as I respect him.

I was listening to On Writing the other day and sat right up at the bit where he railed against any sort of plotting and said something along the lines of he just gets his ideas characters and ‘moody’ and then let’s the characters and mood take him wherever. Explained a LOT about not being able to finish strong with endings 😆

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catscatscurrantscurrants · 05/10/2022 09:33

I can understand why you feel disappointed and sad. As a PP said, showing your writing to someone is very exposing. I asked a boyfriend to read a short story I'd written, (that I was proud of, felt it was the best thing I'd produced in years, etc) - he read it, said he didn't understand it and didn't like ghost stories anyway. Never ask a loved one or friend to read your work. Perhaps join a writers group - you'll get more honest opinions and feedback from those who have no personal connection to you. And good luck with your novel!

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Musti · 05/10/2022 09:34

Glad that he’s given you good feedback now that he’s awake and if you want another test reader, I’d love to be one :)

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Rubiesue · 05/10/2022 09:36

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This message has been withdrawn at the poster's request

Meseekslookatme · 05/10/2022 09:37

britneyisfree · 05/10/2022 07:19

Never rely on family & friends to read your books! Doesn't matter how much he usually reads if this isn't a genre he usually enjoys.

Get some beta readers! They will give impartial feedback.

Are you going to self or try and trad pub?

Best of luck!!

This!
I have a friend that's written a couple of self published books.
I started one, but it's not my cup of tea at all. I just don't mention it any more. She's writing another one and I'm desperately hoping I'm not expected to read it.

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beastlyslumber · 05/10/2022 09:38

Well done, OP, that is a massive achievement!

I am a fiction writer, published author so I am speaking from experience when I say, find a good writing group. I don't show my work to anyone but other writers with whom I've built up a supportive relationship over the years.

Your book does sound too long, but it also sounds like you've hit a lodestone of material - no reason why you can't have several books in the same series.

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ReneBumsWombats · 05/10/2022 09:41

DragonflyNights · 05/10/2022 09:33

I was listening to On Writing the other day and sat right up at the bit where he railed against any sort of plotting and said something along the lines of he just gets his ideas characters and ‘moody’ and then let’s the characters and mood take him wherever. Explained a LOT about not being able to finish strong with endings 😆

Yeah, he likes to "free write" the whole thing. I can't say it hasn't worked for him, but I just love, love, love a well-formed plot so that you can read it again and see the foreshadowing, the clues, trust that the author knows the route and is taking you somewhere with purpose.

The ending of It, I mean what the fuck. The whole thing was about facing your fears and therefore stripping them of their power over you. I was expecting it to end along those lines, but instead one of them went into a trance and pleaded with a giant tortoise to help them?

Perhaps King could do his free write to get his characters and feel and then rewrite with the plot planned out to fit. I know he won't, but I wonder what the books would be like if he did.

I remember once realising I'd written myself into a corner. The characters needed to be outside for the finale but they had to start off indoors and I had no idea how to get them out but I was desperate to get the initial story down. In the end, I brought in a magic teleporter out of absolutely nowhere to get them outside, finished the story, then went back and found a more plausible, internally consistent way to move them. You can do that when you're God of the world they're in!

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EmotionalSupportLynel · 05/10/2022 09:42

OP you've had good advice here. I'm a published writer and a freelance editor / proofreader and know well that writing well is all about the editing, honing, cutting down ruthlessly. Your book length is far too long even at 150k words; JK Rowling or Lucinda Riley can get away with that kind of length but publishers look for first time novels at less than 100k (90k optimum) - I'm just cutting out the flab on a 100k novel I've written and heck there's a lot of it.

It's a tough market so make it easier on yourself by going with the saga in 5 books thing, less than 100k each. Readers do love sagas and trilogies still, obviously if there's a great hook and it's well written.

My DH does read my stuff and he's brilliant at being both encouraging and critical - he is brutally honest at times but I know he knows his stuff so value his opinion. I'd get feedback from other writers and professional editors.

In the end though you have so much to celebrate and be proud of - you've written a book, you are loving it - keep enjoying the process, there's nothing quite like it!

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AtrociousCircumstance · 05/10/2022 09:45

It sounds like your H is selfish and self important in general and this has highlighted that in a painful way.

This book is a huge deal to you - his life partner and love - and he’s being casual about it.

It matters and you matter.

Talk to him and explain?

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weathervane1 · 05/10/2022 09:47

Hi, I've just read Stephen King's book: On writing - a memoir of the craft' which is part autobiography but mostly a book describing how he wrote and what worked and what didn't. The lesson that stands out the most is to write the first draft 'with the door closed' - in other words in private and with no sharing. He also suggests to do the same with the first edit / review and gives some excellent advice about what to cut out upon reviewing.

When it comes to your nearest and dearest, do you really want someone who is programmed to tell you how good it is or do you need ten really trusted friends who can mark up your work in a constructive way that you can learn from?

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Snowberry3 · 05/10/2022 09:49

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.

This isn't good and I don't think it's because you are super sensitive.

The only way to resolve it is to discuss it properly - perhaps have some counselling first for yourself because no doubt if you seem to be accusatory he will be defensive - and I don't think I'd go back to the wedding day. Try to find more uptodate examples. But the counsellor might be able to give you ways to approach him.

But keeping yourself and your feelings last is probably what you inherited from your childhood. You need to learn how to stand up for yourself more.

I think he is a miserable git for not giving a more enthusiastic response - not necessarily for the book but for the fact that you have written so much, that you love doing it and have a new hobby that makes you happy going forward.

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KettrickenSmiled · 05/10/2022 09:51

RedHelenB · 05/10/2022 07:15

You sound a bit needy from your post. And critiquing your book was never going to go well, given what happened with your mother and you putting the blame on you not writing for years on comments she'd made.
Write for you, because you get something from it. I think yab a bit unreasonable.

Hello OP's mum!

What a horrible post. OP said she was feeling vulnerable about this topic, & asked for no snark - so you decide the best thing to do is to weigh in with some heavy personal criticism @RedHelenB ?

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