Thursday, April 18, 2013

Teen Writers and Expectations From Parents

by Stephanie Morrill

Last week on the Go Teen Writers Facebook group, some of the writers were discussing the anxiety they feel about sharing their stories with their parents. Even if your book wouldn't be shelved next to Fifty Shades of Grey, there's still plenty of room for feeling awkward. Like if your book has a serial killer in it, you might feel uncomfortable about those parts written from his or her point of view. Or the character who cuts herself. Or that bit of bad language in chapter three.

I've been where you are - I've been a teen writer handing her story over to her parents with trembling hands. It was a book that involved teen pregnancy, drunken parties, and clueless parents. It's uncomfortable, and there's no way around it. I can't provide you with a clear action plan for navigating this situation, but I can offer some thoughts that may help:

Wait until you're ready.

Because I've reaped the benefits of not showing anyone my manuscript until it's been edited, I'm a big believer in telling others, "No, you can't read it yet." This might hurt a person's feelings, which is unfortunate, but they need to understand that your book is a piece of art, and that you get the final say in when it gets to be revealed. Some writers don't mind sending out chapters after they've written them, and others, like me, keep that door firmly closed until after the story has been edited and proofed.

If you feel like you need the big guns to back you up on this one, you can tell them Stephen King says in his book On Writing that it's a bad idea to show anyone your writing during the first draft, and that you're trying out his advice. Tell them how much you appreciate their interest, and that you'll be excited for their feedback when the book is done.

Nobody understands fiction writers except other fiction writers.

Go ahead and prepare yourself for the fact that you are and will continue to be a mystery to others. You have a lifetime ahead of you of questions like:

Why do you write books for teens when you're an adult?
How can you write about murder all the time? You seem so normal.
How can you write romances when you've been married to the same man for 20 years?

The real answer to these questions for most writers is, "I don't know."

I have no idea why I love the young adult genre so much or why at age twenty-nine I've yet to come up with any motivation to write for adults. It's just in my wiring.

Non-writers can certainly support and encourage us, but they'll also find us puzzling. That's okay.

Communicate your fears and expectations.

If you've decided to let your parents read what you've been working on, I find it best to tell them what your expectations are. Something like, "I'm still reworking a lot of it, so I don't need a line by line edit, but if you have general thoughts about the story, I'd love to hear them."

And there's nothing wrong with telling them you're nervous. They'll probably figure it out anyway. Last week, my husband read my upcoming release, The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet. I mentioned to him that I struggled with the voice of Palmer, who's southern. I didn't want to overdo his accent and drop every g at the end of his words, but I also wanted him to sound southern. Ben and I then started talking about books we love that have a ton of accent in them - Cloud Atlas, The Help, and The Harry Potter series.

I became so scared that I had made the wrong choice about Palmer that I was very short-tempered with my poor husband. I acted like that for about twenty minutes before I realized what was happening. When I apologized, he said, "It's okay. I know you're just nervous."

It's okay to be nervous. And it's okay to be honest about it too.

Consider starting small.

I'm not the type of girl who acclimates to a cold pool by running and jumping in. I ease my way into the water. In the same way, if you're not sure about handing over your whole manuscript to someone, consider a chapter or two. Or offer an alternative, like a creative nonfiction essay you had to write for school. There's no shame in baby steps!

Support is nice. But ultimately, you get to choose.

Say the worst happens - your parents read your book, they don't like it, and they're now concerned you're mentally disturbed. Or maybe they think writing is a fine hobby for a teen, but not something to be pursued as an adult. What then?

We all like to make our parents happy, and when we're living under their roof, this feels exceptionally vital to our existence. Eventually, though, you'll be an adult. You'll buy your own milk, set your own bedtime, and make your own car payments. You'll also get to choose what you're going to do with writing. So as horrible as it can feel to have a parent frowning over what you wrote, don't forget that ultimately, it'll be your choice.

Have a suggestion of your own? Leave a comment!

74 comments:

  1. Passing over my writing is incredibly freaky. I'm a really quiet and shy person, and my books are totally dark (murder all round), which is odd because, honest, I'm not mentally disturbed!

    It's really, really hard though, when you so very much want your parents to like what you've poured months (and sweat, blood and tears, and all that stuff) into a manuscript.

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    1. I agree. I always want my parents to like what I wrote...even when I tell myself, "They're not my target audience, it's okay if they don't," it's still a big relief when they say they liked it!

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  2. This was helpful, thank you! I always feel weird about letting people I know read my writing. I have no issues at all with letting people I DON'T know read it, but the ones who are gonna see the parts that I connect so deeply with and KNOW...and the ones who are going to see the similarities between my MC and me and possibly start thinking that I am the main character...*shudders* It's really hard, my parents especially. They've yet to read any part of my book...but they haven't asked yet, either, so I'm good for now.

    So...thank you! :)

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    1. I definitely get that Amanda! I'm cool with strangers reading my books, but it's much harder when it's someone I have a relationship with.

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  3. Thank you for the encouraging post! I just finished a first draft and now a lit of family and friends are asking to read it. I have to just keep telling them it's not ready for human eyes yet. :)
    ~Sarah Faulkner

    www.inklinedwriters.blogspot.com

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    1. Stand strong, Sarah! It's nice that you have so many eager readers, though :)

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  4. I love this post. That's all I can say. I loved it. :) I get worried that when I show people my work, they're going to think I based it off my life, and that's a scary thought! I completely understand the "only writers get writers" part. But I've got a writer-sister (Cait) so that's pretty good.

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    1. Mime, I get that! Especially when I write books that have SOME bits of my real life in them, I feel like I need to through and mark all the spots that are complete fiction :)

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  6. Thank you so much for this post! I like to share after I've revised at least twice (by chapter, I'm just starting second my second draft).

    Zara
    www.zarahoffman.com

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  7. This post, I needed it right now, thank you! the fact that I don't allow anyone in my family to read what I write has been pressing on them, and in turn, they press me to allow them to read it. I think I just need to close the cracked door, and say "No, not now".

    thank you!

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  8. For me, sometimes I feel added pressure to show my work because I'm in college studying creative writing...like I'm afraid people will have some super-high expectations that I don't meet.
    I agree that communication is definitely important when sharing your writing with others - especially your parents. My mom didn't read my first novel-length manuscript until it was finished. When I took it to her, I told her I was still working on it, and she was welcome to write changes on the manuscript.
    Also, when it comes to a topic you're not sure how your parents will react to, let them know up front that it's in there. Then say, "[insert potentially-questionable topic] is in my manuscript. Can you make sure I'm handling this in the best way?" They'll appreciate it when you show you genuinely care about their opinion.

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    1. I struggle with thinking people will have super high expectations. It only takes sharing with one or two people that look you blank in the eye and tell you your idea "is nothing special" "warped and weird" or "terrible" plant the fear roots deep.

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    2. Oh, Anna, I get the expectations thing. I feel that way when I find out readers of this blog are planning on reading one of my books. It's scary! (I mean, I'm grateful, but in a, "Pleeeeease like it...pleeeease don't stop coming to the blog if you hate it!" kind of way.)

      And that's a great suggestion about how to bring up the issues with your parents.

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  9. My Dad's an engineer and my Mom's an accountant. They're very encouraging...but not writers. They still give me good feedback, but it still makes me nervous when they read my stuff. I can't really explain why. What really helped me, though, was when my Mom said she didn't care what I wrote--she'd like it because I wrote it. I realized my parents weren't my audience, but they'd support me anyway.

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    1. That's how my mom is. Even if she doesn't like the book, she'll support it and want it to do well because I do! :)

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    2. My parents are the same way!! They support me in my writing 100 percent, and I feel so blessed to have their blessing to study creative writing and do my best to become a published writer!!

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    3. Oh, I love hearing this! My parents are like that too, and so is my husband. It makes all the difference :)

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  10. There actually is a good answer to the whole "How can you write about__ when you aren't like that?" question. I actually just wrote a post about it http://scribblingskeyboard.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-art-of-being-human.html but it basically boils down to if you're human you can understand how other humans work.

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    1. I'll bookmark that to read when I'm not up against the clock of my kids' naps :) Thanks, Anne-girl!

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  11. This a great article, and one I plan to refer to when I'm teaching creative writing to the teens in my homeschool group!

    It's also something I can totally relate to as an adult. I wasn't a writer when I was a teen, so I never worried about my parents reading my weird stories, but when I started writing in my 30s I did worry. Yes, as an adult I was afraid my parents would think I was totally weird for writing fantasy and horror and paranormal strangeness. I even asked my mom to not read my published writing in online magazines--but she did anyway (sneaky-sneak), and came to me to tell me how much she loved it! (She did, however, when she finally read my first book, start asking me "who" different characters were as if I'd based them all on people I know or knew. No Mom, no worries, I would not immortalize my I-know-he's-a-jerk-now high school boyfriend in a novel, I promise! :P)

    I still won't let my family--my parents, my husband--read anything I haven't gotten published yet. And this is where advice can come in that someone else might be able to use: I tell them that they are too close to me and I can't be objective about their comments, that I can't help but take them more personally than I take critique from my writer friends and critique partners. This lets them know that their opinion of my writing matters--a lot. Too much, in many ways, so that I need to hold off on getting it until I've had time to work through all the editing.

    Again--great article!

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    1. That's a great point, Kat. And it's probably why I feel at ease showing story ideas and first draft material to my critique partner, yet would never show it to my husband, despite how supportive he is. Great thoughts!

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    2. Great way to say it!

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  12. This was a very helpful article. I don't have a huge problem with letting my parents read my novel (although it does make me nervous). My grandparents prove the most problems for me. They are super conservative. Like nothing-but-piano-and-skirts conservative. My book contains violence, torture, death and one or two kisses. I know they want to read it but honestly I am very nervous letting them read it. I also find that I will only let a select few of my friends read my work while in the editing stages. And the friends I let read it are authors themselves and have helped me talk through my ideas. So I find often those who help you think through your plot and discuss you book with you, are the ones who you don't mind sharing with.

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    1. Yes, grandparents can be nerve-wracking as well! You're smart to be cautious with who of your friends reads it :)

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  13. Yes... I feel a bit awkward thinking of anyone in my family reading my manuscript lol. Only yesterday my dad was asking if I wanted him to read it/help edit it. I was thinking...no.... Lol. I appreciate my parents. They both support me wholeheartedly in this crazy avenue I've decided to drive down. They both believe in me, something I realize not all teens are blessed to have. They encourage me to write, to succeed, and they are proud when I do. But somehow... I don't really want my parents to be my critiquers. I just want them to be my support. Sure if they notice something that needs a big change. But I guess I'm afraid of them not liking something. :P The only person I've really shared anything with in my family is my older sister. She lives a few states away, so sending emails isn't so hard. :D I told my dad he could read it after revisions. :)

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    1. I think "support" is the ideal role for parents. Because (and I say this AS a parent) it would be nearly impossible for them to provide an unbiased critique. But support they can excel at! How great that you have an older sister to share your stories with :)

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    2. Haha. I suppose that's true... And yes, my sis is probably my biggest fan right now. :)

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  14. This is great! I have one person who helps with finding plot holes and typos, who gets to read as I go, but it not either of my parents! My mother doesn't like horror/paranormal (which is what my WIP is) so she doesn't want to see it till the very end. My dad is te polar opposite -- like me, he loves it! But I'm not allowed to see his novel until its done and vice versa, so at te moment (thank god) I don't have this problem. BUT it's nice to know just in case ;)

    And of other news, Stephanie and Jill, I just started your book and it's AMAZING!!! The best writing book I've read to date, and I'm only up to Stephanie's Oreo analogy! Which I love. And Jill, I love The Hunger Games and have read it twice, so I can really understand the story structure! I've een worrying about this in my WIP lately, but now I see it's nowhere near as bad as I thought -- just need to up the stakes a little *evil grin*

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  15. I don't want my parents to read my book. Just awkward. Even if the only bad thing in it is a romance. . . . But thanks for writing! I'll definitely be pinning for future use ;)

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    1. Whoops, not that romance is bad. "Awkward" I should have said. And I'm a writer! How embarrassing. . . .

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    2. Lol, Hannah. I knew what you meant :)

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  16. This is hard for me and I'm in my twenties! I think starting slow is important. I know my mom wants me to talk about and be open with my writing but ill be honest why I can't and I can't tell her the truth for this very reason, she likes things her way. If she makes a suggestion and I don't take it, she'll be mad at me and for a long time. I want the opportunity to "get" my story and understand my writing so I can at least feel steadier responding to her questions. I don't want to fight with her and I don't see my writing at the moment as something that should create a wedge. I need her for other things.

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    1. That's really interesting, Tonya. And it's a good reminder to all of us that when we're doing critiques or giving feedback, we need to be respectful of the author's prerogative to ignore us!

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  17. This is something that I'm constantly struggling with. I never really feel comfortable sharing my manuscripts with my parents. I think that part of it is fear that they wont like it, but I also don't want to show them something that isn't by best work, or the finished piece. I've never really showed my parents any of my novels, but I have shown them some of my short stories and school assignments and stuff. I also think that, for me at least, it's easier to show first drafts to my friends (writers and non-writers) than it is to show them to my parents. Is that weird?

    -Abby

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    1. I think everyone probably feel that way! I know I do -- so if even if we're weird at least we're not the only ones ;)

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    2. Agreed! I'm very private about my first drafts. And even my story ideas.

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  18. This was so helpful! I use to let my mom read my stories, but as I got older I started noticing more and more that whenever she would read some of my work she would say something like this "That was great, honey. But your grammar needs some work." or "That was really good, but it should have been 'to' not 'too'." She has never really said anything on the actual plot and when I was really little it use to bother me because I wasn't use to criticizing and I wasn't ready for it. Know I find her criticism almost helpful.

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    1. "Being ready for it" is definitely a process! I'm glad you're able to recognize that, because I don't think I did until I was older.

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  19. I have a friend who I will talk about possible story things and I talk to my mom mostly about my progress in my story.
    I have learned that it's hard for my parents to understand my current thoughts because they don't know what is currently happening in the story. There was one night I was telling my dad something and he gave me this blank look. My mom says, "Just nod, and say, 'okay' because I lost track of what book she's talking about." So I am fortunate to have parents that know that they won't understand, but I still do most of my brainstorming with a fellow writing friend.

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    1. Alyson, that's wonderful that your parents are supportive and understanding. Love hearing that!

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  20. I let my mom read anything of mine, except serious romance. I feel very uncomfortable when she reads something fluffy I wrote. Or if two of my characters kiss. And yet, I have no problem sharing sexual innuendos while talking to her. It's a running joke with us.

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    1. I love seeing camaraderie like that between mothers and daughters! That's great, Bex.

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  21. I'm comfortable with sharing a pitch synopsis -- most of the time -- and that's it. My older sister, however? Completely different. She will sit there in the car with both parents and sibings and read her half-completed first draft out loud, editting as she goes. It annoys me because of all the writing boo-boos, but every writer does it differently, I guess. Plus, this is her first book... so.

    I can also attest to the "sharing with complete strangers" part. A friend in which I've seen twice, demands that I send him each chapter from my WIP, and I'm relatively comfortable with it. However, we're planning on spending the entire summer together, so I'm not sure if that comfortability will continue.

    And yes, my Mom always asks me why I minimize the window each time she walks in my room which clearly has a door-hanger saying "Genius at Work." I awkwardly try to explain, but I end up just saying, "Oh never mind."

    The writer's life...

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    1. Lol -- I always flick over to the window with my emails. They shall not sneak glances that easily, mwa ha ha

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  22. I'm still learning to deal with my parents on the subject of writing. It's difficult because they think fiction is a waste of time and wish I'd write something "better"...but they are supportive of what I love and that is all I need. It is a bit difficult showing people your writing when it can be a bit mentally disturbing (totally destroys previous "sane" reputation I once had) but usually people are impressed when they see a new side of you. I always wait a bit before I show a second draft, I only share if I want feedback really...

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  23. This is timely...I JUST let my mother read my novel. I was a wreck. The fear of inadequacy never goes away, even as you age. And my mom was super supportive and always told me "you'll be a writer". Hmmmm, maybe that's why I was so nervous. :) Can't wait for your book to come out! ;)

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  24. It always feels so awkward to put romance in my books, because I know that my parents are going to read it someday. And I don't know how they would react to my putting kissing and stuff in my books. But, besides that I love having people read my books. But of course, no first draft reading!

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  25. I allways get my siblings to read my stories first before I let my parents. They arrn't afraid to tell me what they think, and if they really like it, they never put it down till they're done reading it. Then they normally tell my parents all about it, and then my parents have a head up of what I've written. I do get really nervous when they read any violent or spiritual sceanes. Just feels like I'm revieling a lot of myself to them. They allways are very happy that I let them read what I write and they encourage me with my writing goals, so it's worth showing them.

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    1. I have my thirteen-year-old brother read my work first, then Mama. I always run and hide near the piano while Mama reads a chapter of my book. I always get butterflies in my stomach. I think spiritual scenes create more discomfort than violence and sexuality.

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  26. I totally know what that feels like!
    Just the other day, I was talking with my aunt and she told me she is going to read all the books I publish. I felt as though I was going to throw up the rest of the time I was there. My story is about an assassin and how she learns to change her ways and comes to know God. It's super fun to write but then you also have those gory scenes that make you wonder is anyone is going to read about it. And then it's got romance. What will my parents and family think of that?

    However, what I do is when I'm done writing a new chapter, I go over it and edit it and then email it to my friends. They give me their feedback and then I don't feel as bad about showing my parents. As long as someone likes it, I'm good!

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  27. I barely ever TELL my family what I'm writing about (my parents still know next to nothing about the one book I've finished (although, actually, only one sibling knows much about that one) and the ninja novel...), so letting them read it is so. not. happening. right now.

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  28. My mom reads my work chapter by chapter as I finish. I have to room to be nervous with her because she is just crazy and knows the things I read will affect what I write (I read about anything from serial killers to gushy romances). In fact, if I am nervous about putting somethings in my manuscript, she makes me do it. I remember writing my fantasy, being in chapter 3, and my mom asking me when the main characters were going to FINALLY kiss. I could not stop laughing because romance was not the center of my story but she wanted to see it so much. I can show her anything so long as I am not condoning wrong actions and I love that about her.

    As for everyone else, most are allowed to read a book once I have done at least on rewrite on it. My first book was correct twice by only me and was then read by my Grandma and my neighbor. Then I got four more drafts done and my Pastor and another church elder asked to read it, along with one of their daughters. It will be interesting to see what they say, but two of them have only read the first chapter and like it.

    Sadly, my sisters will not be allowed to read my books until they are published. They like to criticize when it is not like their preferred genre (Romance and Adventure).

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  29. My parents think that my writing is just a 'fun' past time as you put it, they don't realize that it is important to me and I take it very seriously. I hardly ever let my parents read my stuff (they pretty much given up after they read an especially emo pice of writing, back in my emo days :). Unless it's something I wrote for them. But they are surprised when I write something for them, they always ask me if I really wrote it, so that's kind of encouraging? :)

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  30. This is really helpful. My immediate and extended family's been really supportive. They're awesome. However, none of them write. I take all of their advice with a grain of salt, of course. I let them read what I have on an online profile, short stories and poetry (they don't comment on my dark fiction. Who would've guessed?). However, I'm reluctant to share my novels with my family because in my first, the MC's a girl with serious trust issues, and in the second (my current), my MC paralyzes people for a job. And there's a lot of violence in that one.
    I don't even tell them really what my novels are about, because dark (compared to what they read) dystopias are so not their thing. They don't really know what dystopias are, so ... My grandpa asked me, after I'd finished my first draft, if he could get it on his Kindle anytime soon. I laughed.
    I totally agree with the not letting anyone else read your first drafts, because for me, I generally think they're going really well, although I do notice some problems. When I reread it again, I notice everything I need to do to make it better.
    Funnily enough, my friends don't really know I write. I have a lot of super-artistic friends but not really "writery" friends. A few weeks ago, I shared the first draft of my first novel with my twin sister (thinking it was the second), and ... I won't do that again. She wasn't mean or critiquing it, but at certain parts she would comment, and I would sit there saying, "Please stop reading. It's not my best work." She didn't. She told me it was "slightly better than Twilight." I'll be editing this summer, I suppose. ...

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  31. My problem, is that my Dad makes me show him a lot of my writing, when I don't want him to see it. I tell him that it's not ready for people to see, but he won't listen to me. :( It doesn't help that he's a good writer, and he always sees fault in my work... :(

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  32. My parents still don't quite understand the concept of not reading first drafts. I don't show anyone my writing, though I might let my sister critique my work, since she's a writer too.

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  33. I learned to write doing plays, which meant that I would be sharing scripts with my fellow actors sometimes while I was writing them, so I've never developed an aversion to sharing my writing. (Though it helps that I'm a naturally outgoing person and if I confuse people, I can just hand them my writing and then they'll really be confused.)

    I don't think my dad has ever read any of my work, and not from any lack of trying on my end. I had my published book on his shelf, right by his desk for several weeks, and he never even picked it up, so I rescued it and let it go to a reader who would love and care for it. My mom, on the other hand ... she writes, too - and on similar subjects. I have ammo against her in the form of a red binder sitting on my desk - the book she wrote at fourteen. Not that it keeps her from tearing half of what I write to shreds ...

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  34. My mom is very encouraging when it comes to my writing. My dad knows I wright but he hasn't read any of my WIP (Yes, I am catching up on the writing lingo) I know he supports it though.

    Mom knew I could write because when I was younger I would write letters to relatives and I would ask her to read them to make sure they were okay. She said that my letters were always good and thoughtful.
    So, I proceeded into writing stories. My first real draft I showed to mom made her cry, but maybe because it was kind of sad.

    Still I am skeptical of showing my books to others, afraid that it's not good enough, even though I talk about them all the time to mom and dad.

    Thank you for sharing this post, Stephanie, this blog has been a real blessing for aspiring writers. :D

    (MJ)

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    1. I'm so glad, MJ. And best of luck with your WIPs :) (It's so fun when it stops being a code and becomes lingo!)

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  35. I get annoyed at my parents for caring about my school work and telling me to do homework and to come to them for help. But this post just opened my eyes to the fact that they're absolutely wonderful and I'm blessed to have a family that truly cares about one another and always encourages one another. They read my writing and they encourage me and they help me. That's a real blessing. And I didn't even realize. Sometimes I get so caught up in problems and stuff that I miss all the goodness around.

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    1. You're certainly not alone in that, Emii! As I've been working with my daughter on being content, I've been awakened to how much time I spend complaining versus expressing gratitude.

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  37. I hate to show my writing to people, because my family doesn't like the genres I like, and I don't want my parents to see me writing even light romance. Only kisses, flirting, no hard subjects. I just don't know how my parents would react. I might talk to my Mom about it after I finish editing my first novel, which I haven't finished yet at all.

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    1. You're wise to take your time with it :) And, yes, a lot of times genre preferences come into play. My mother doesn't like anything even remotely sci-fi, and when I've had ideas in that vein, I can tell she isn't very enthusiastic :)

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  38. This post made my day because no one seems to get why I don't want anyone I know to read my work. I'd love total strangers to read i, just not family. I occasionally let my friends read it but I don't have any friends who are really writers and they just don't get it. Especially my parents. They are both supportive but things with my dad are complicated and my mom does a lot of editing professionally so she is very critical and not so big on praise. She always just says its "good" but never elaborates. My WIP has romance in it, lots of romance, and I never want them to read it! It's just so awkward! Anyway I just really enjoyed this post and it's great to know other people feel this way.

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    1. I'm so glad you found this helpful, Jordan! Yes, I definitely understand your feelings.

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  39. I never write romance because I'm scared that my mother will disapprove, and when people read it they will think that I don't know what I'm talking about. I'd really like to, though. What do you think I should do?

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    1. I get where you're coming from. I used to feel that way too, and even now I sometimes feel strange discussing the romantic story threads in my books. Only you can make the decision, really. My stories have always had romance in them, but I wasn't always so comfortable with my parents reading them. There's no reason why you have to share all your stories, regardless of the reason. Some things we write are just for us.

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    2. Thanks Stephanie! You're right; I don't need to share everything I write. That's great advice!

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  40. As a parent and writer myself, it can be difficult to decide which hat I'm going to wear regarding my daughter's writing. I just recently came across a bit of her writing that was crammed in a homework notebook I was checking and it contained material I would never let her read or watch on TV. It was jarring, but I have rule which states I must wait until the kneejerk reaction passes before any decisions or confrontations take place. So I waited while this conversation between the parent and writer in me took place over several days.


    Parent: My baby! She's writing about...I can't even think it let alone say it....
    Writer: Hey, genius. You've written the exact same thing, maybe even worse.
    Parent: But that's different, I'm an adult...
    Writer: Really? Then what about that one story from 20 some odd years ago?
    Parent: Oh.
    Writer: What would have happened if your mom read it and went ballistic?
    Parent: It would've killed you or scared you off for a while.
    Writer: Bingo.
    Parent: But, it's scary.
    Writer: Get over it. You've done a good job raising her, now go confess your crime and apologize to the girl. I'll give you one concession, ask her not to take stories with anything her school would deem inappropriate in them. It might cause some trouble. You remember what happened with that one poem?
    Parent: Yes, school counselor, tons of questions, was afraid to write for weeks.
    Writer: Now, go get some tea. I've got some writing to do.

    I will say the confession went well, she wasn't mad at me, thankfully. I explained the reasons why some stories shouldn't go to school; the school doesn't follow Mom's knee-jerk reaction rule. I encouraged her to keep writing and am now looking for some tips to help her out. Of course, they can't come from Mom, what do I know?

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