Saturday, 10 August 2013

Harsh critic

I've read so many pieces of advice that say the same thing in various ways, which is, don't ask your family and friends to read your work. As far as I can tell, this is because a/ they probably don't really know enough about stories to be discerning b/they're hugely biased because they love you c/they'd lie if it was useless because they wouldn't want to hurt your feelings.

I'm sure that I'm not the only one who allows family to read her stories sometimes, even though I take the lying, biased ignoramuses' comments with a pinch of salt. Sometimes it's just good to discuss issues with someone, or to desensitise yourself to exposing your work...

However. I think my husband missed the memo. My latest competition entry for The Year of Stories (a story with a twist) was running perilously close to deadline, and I wasn't happy with it. It seemed a little slow and needed at least 300 words cutting and I wasn't entirely sure how to end it. So I handed it to my husband, who promised to read it "in the advert break". (Perhaps this should have been a warning).

I watched him skim reading (I couldn't keep up, and I'm the faster reader), saw him smother two or three sighs unsuccessfully, then give an audible one. He muttered something about the essay he has to write being shorter than this, then carried on skim reading. He scrolled faster and faster down the page, before turning to me with a "Yeah, it's OK."

I narrowed my eyes. "You didn't read that."

His eyes flicked to the muted TV where his programme was back on. "I did."

"So, what did you think of the twist, then?"

He looked back in undisguised surprise. "There was a twist?!"

Clearly he needs to work on being biased and flattering, and I need to work on making my stories more interesting...Or I could just say that a/ applies, and he doesn't know what he's talking about.

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