Why I won’t let my fiancé read my manuscript

Looking back at my term as president of the Boston chapter of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA), I have to say that Hank Phillippi Ryan, investigative television reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate station and author of Prime TimeFace TimeAir Time, and three other books, including a new one due out in September, is one of the most generous authors I know.  Lisa Hank Head and ShouldersThe award-winning crime fiction novelist took time out of her busy schedule to be the keynote speaker at one of our annual year-end dinner banquets. Before an audience of about 30 members and guests in the private dining area of one of Boston’s upscale hotels, she regaled us with stories of how she began writing her first novel. She talked about the long hours in front of the computer screen after her shifts at the TV station, the social events she skipped to carve out time to work on the book, the reams of paper she went through as she revised what she had written. I’m sure she doesn’t know this but her methods provide me with guidance as I work on my own book project. However there was one tactic she told us about that I would feel uncomfortable using: she had her husband read her raw manuscript pages and give her feedback.

I cannot imagine having my fiancé read my manuscript, not a chapter, section, or paragraph. He is also a writer, a very good one, with a background in journalism, like me. I know that he could provide me with insight that would be helpful in polishing the story. However, because my manuscript is so personal, has been a part of my life for more than five years, and because he is so close to me, he is the one person I won’t let read it. I plan to show it to him after it’s published, after it’s been edited, bound, and printed, but not before. Does anyone else feel this way? How do you feel sharing your work in progress with a significant other, whether it’s a writing project, work project, or other personal creative venture? I’d love to hear from you.




2 thoughts on “Why I won’t let my fiancé read my manuscript

  1. Lisa, I too refrain from having loved ones read my work in advance. Right now I publish a monthly marketing newsletter. My rationale is that my husband, parents and siblings (and children for that matter) aren’t in the target market for my newsletter though they receive it anyway.

    My decision not to share it pre-publication has been substantiated by their reaction to certain issues. I put myself on the line and at times my husband and my father have worried or said that they could have saved me from my error.

    But my true target audience has yet to have these complaints. Instead I am generating great conversations and expanding my network via social media.

    So perhaps this is also a way for you to look at your manuscript? Is your husband your target reader?

    I hope this is helpful.

    P.S. We met a couple of years ago at a Boston Women Communicator event. I think it was a summer social.

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