My writing buddy and I were discussing family proof readers the other day and how it’s hard to hand over a mss to, say, your mother to proof read. My mother is very good at spotting typos and grammar problems. Her mother is a professional editor! Both our moms are interested in reading our mss. But do we really want them to read what our imaginations come up with? My writing buddy doesn’t think her mom will relate to her genre of paranormal/vampire romance. I think my mom might be uneasy with the more sensual scenes, even though I write sweet, G-rated romance.
My mom has read a couple of my mss. Poor thing, she didn’t know what she was getting into with my first couple of novels. I made all the beginners mistakes.
I am doing the last polish of my novel HER SCOTTISH CEO, which publishes this fall and my mom asked to read it. It’s already been edited professionally and I do need someone to go through it once more to look for grammar and typos on my revisions (because I’m comma challenged and I tend to write in fragments. Let’s face it, I suck at grammar) and my mom is very good at spotting both.
But here’s the thing, when someone close to you reads your mss are they confusing the characters, actions and experiences with you? Are they thinking you’re writing from your own experiences? For example, I have been a watercolor artist for over 30 years, and one summer I spent four weeks traveling the Great Glen of Scotland painting watercolors. They say write what you know, and I know art and I think I know enough about traveling in Scotland to use that experience in my mss. So I got this idea for a story about an American watercolor artist who travels to Scotland. That’s were my background comes in. But Marcie, my heroine, meets as Scotsman, falls in love, faces crisis, and must make hard decisions. That’s where my imagination comes in.
Marcie and Greg share some intense intimate moments. I love that scene and I think I did a good job of creating a sensual moment without being graphic. I think my characters share a close moment without going all the way (though they nearly do). Do I really want my mom to read this? I write from my imagination and my fantasy. Her genre of choice is not romance, though she does read them occasionally. She prefers inspirational.
We all at some point in our lives want approval from our parents. We want them to be proud of our accomplishments. But how much of our inner selves are we willing to share to get that? Are we afraid of disappointing? Are we afraid of shocking? Even writing sweet romance, what will my mom think of the sensual scenes? What will she think of me having written them?
I’m on the fence right now about having mom proof read HER SCOTTISH CEO. But I think I’ll sit down with her and explain the difference between experience and imagination, explain there are some sensual moments and go from there.
Do you have family or close friends proof read your mss? What was it like the first time? What was their reaction?