Who do you let read your unfinished work?

@ehlana88 (330)
United States
March 28, 2007 4:23pm CST
I have hit a block in a piece that I am working on and my old buddy who reads all my unfinished writing is away in mushy mushy land with his girlfriend. Whenever I hit a block I have him read what I've written and critique so we can hash it out together. Sometimes he can come up with a perspective I haven't or just help me scale that wall that formed there. Now, I'm sorta wondering who to go to next. I don't have many supportive people around me when it comes to my writing. Oh, I work as a freelance journalist so I get quite a bit of people who LIKE my writing but it certainly doesn't help when they don't feel comfortable telling me that paragraphs one through 5 on page 25 are pure trash. Who do you feel comfortable reading your writing before its finished?
4 people like this
13 responses
@re08dz (1941)
• Australia
28 Mar 07
I don't write a lot but often what I do I put up in my portfolio on writing.com. Whether it's finished, half done or yet to be edited I've found that's a great place to get some real constructive advice about what works and what doesn't etc. While I've made several good friends on that site I've found my best responses come from those who don't know my - they often seem more inclined to tell the truth :-) I may not always listen or take their advice but I do at least take note of what they say.
@nameerf (99)
• United States
28 Mar 07
I have an awesome crit group through yahoo groups. It makes a huge difference. We all submit chapters of our books and review each others. Sometimes you can get up to 5 crits on the same chapter which helps immensely. If only one person thinks something doesn't work, you can pass on it. If all 5 wrote about the same thing, then you know you have to fix it. It works really well for us.
@ehlana88 (330)
• United States
28 Mar 07
That's really awesome. I've tried crit groups before, even had one in person that was really great. I miss the one in person. The problem I've had in online crit groups is that when one person doesn't like your critique they can really spoil your enjoyment of the group.
2 people like this
• United States
3 Apr 07
Fortunate for us, we all get along and take our time going through crits. Everyone is on the same page. It's better to get the opinion from someone before it goes to the editor.
2 people like this
@patgalca (15648)
• Orangeville, Ontario
28 Mar 07
Once something is posted online, it is dated and copyright is pretty much established. However, I know that anytime I want to submit something for publication or a contest they have to be unpublished work. That means they can't have appeared online anywhere either so I pretty much keep my work to myself as far as online crit groups. I do have a writing group in my town. We meet once a week. If we want real constructive criticism we will do it outside the group as our group is to motivate and give positive feedback. We have a library in the area who has a Writer in Residence every spring. Two years ago I submitted the first chapter of my novel in progress. I met one-on-one with this award winning author and got his constructive criticism. I thought long and hard about what he said, but in the end I realized he didn't know the whole story - only the first chapter - so he couldn't make possibly make credible changes. I think I only used one thing he suggested, maybe two. These Writers in Residence also conduct free seminars while there so we attended one of those as well. Last year the writer was a sci-fi writer so I did not submit but I attended one of his seminars because it was regarding POV which is not specifically sci-fi. We have a new author this spring and I have submitted a 12-page short story for her critique. I will be meeting with her in May. I am only able to attend two of her four seminars. There are a lot of great resources out there if you look for them. If you don't have a writing group in your area, you might want to think about starting one yourself. Just post a notice at the library and local book stores.
2 people like this
• United States
28 Mar 07
The only person I'll let touch unfinished work is my girlfriend. I very rarely let other people read unfinished work. And there are even some works that I'm not comfortable letting anyone see. It really just depends on the person and the nature of the work.
2 people like this
@Pigglies (9336)
• United States
28 Mar 07
Generally, no one reads my writing before it is finished. It's not like I would care if they did, but I just typically don't show people my work until it is actually done.
2 people like this
@icequeen (2841)
• Canada
29 Mar 07
I am a writer/poet/freelancer myself. I let my boyfriend read my work...He usually has some pretty good ideas and is creative himself. Sometimes he likes it and other times he has some input which I either like or not...and either use or not...
1 person likes this
@patgalca (15648)
• Orangeville, Ontario
29 Mar 07
You are very lucky. My husband has no interest really in reading my work. He reads to poems I write for him but when I asked him to read something I wrote in the middle of the night recently he said he didn't want to read it. I said, "Thanks for your support." He reminded me that he doesn't read anybody's writing. That's true. He is not a reader at all. The newspaper is his limit. But I was hurt and told him "Fine. I won't ask you about another golf game." Then he told me to come back, that he would read it. But I said forget it. But when my recent short story was published in our local magazine, he did read it. He didn't comment though.:(
1 person likes this
@ehlana88 (330)
• United States
29 Mar 07
You are truly lucky. I was extremely hurt by my ex-husband. I couldn't write while I was with him because he didn't approve of it. To have that kind of support from those you love is a great thing!
• United States
6 Apr 07
I wont let anyone read any of my unifinished work. I'd feel humiliated if I made a mistake since I have been reading so many books on writing. Plus, I've not gotten very good responses to what I've written even though I follow all the rules of creative writing. I'd rather have a stranger online read my work than someone that I know in person.
• United States
29 Mar 07
I really only feel comfortable letting someone really close to me like someone from my family or my girlfriend read my unfinished works. I get embarassed when I mess something up and its easier to deal with it with people that are close to you.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
29 Mar 07
i feel comfortable letting my bestfriend read my unfinished work since i know she has great ideas.
1 person likes this
@vanities (11410)
• Davao, Philippines
29 Mar 07
im not a writer though but my daughter always ask me to recheck or read their finish reports and the like..and ask me to make any changes if i think it is really needed..
@denden (803)
• Philippines
29 Mar 07
i do let my mother read my unfinished work since shes the one who corrects my spelling and my grammar. she is good in english thats why i let him read first my work or my unfinished work before i will passed it.
@Transformed (1262)
• United States
29 Mar 07
I don't let people other than family and close friends read my work.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Mar 07
I used to have friends i could give my stuff to, but we've grown apart, or they've stopped writing. I don't give my work to very many people. Creative writing classes at my university have been my biggest help lately. I got to work with a graduate student for a semester and she really helped me determine WHAT i was doing wrong, or right or needed to change. But she gave me enough leeway to answer those questions for myself sometimes. This doesn't answer you question very well, but I think the biggest hurdle for writers is learning to critique yourself. I always try to take time off from my pieces so I can return to them for a reread with fresh eyes. Of course there are online groups as well, but the ones I've used have been lousy--there are a lot of people who don't care about your work and don't know how to provide constructive criticism. As you said, a lot of people will tell you it's good. But that doesn't help.