When Nathan Bransford offers writing or publishing advice, we listen…and advise y’all (especially prose writers) to do the same. Today, his guest author, discusses the good and the bad points of letting those close to you read your unfinished work.
If you tell a close friend or family member that you’re writing a book, it’s highly possible they will ask to read it.
Maybe they feel obligated to ask. Or maybe they genuinely want to support you. But whatever the reason, showing your work-in-progress to close friends or family can introduce some non-trivial complications, both for your book and for your relationships.
In this post, I’ll talk about how to decide whether or not to share your work, and if you do decide to share it, how to set boundaries for the review process.
Why share your work-in-progress with friends/family?
Most writers share a work-in-progress for one simple reason: to improve their book.
Soliciting feedback on a work-in-progress can help you learn which parts are confusing or illogical, root out plot holes, identify “bloat”, and many other things that can be hard for you to detect on your own. You can use that feedback to sharpen your editing pencil and write a clearer next draft.
But criticism is not the only goal of sharing a work-in-progress.
Some writers share drafts with friends and family to build accountability into their writing process.
If you know that someone is waiting to read your next chapter, you may be less likely to skip writing sessions….