The critique partner – writing

Getting people to read your books isn’t always as easy as it sounds. It took me a long time (like years) to let go of work and let people look at it.


So having been brave and offered up my soul, what sort of reactions do I get from my nearest and dearest?

Here is a couple of examples, mostly because they made me chuckle for different reasons…

My Dad.


My Dad is an avid reader, as in he consumes books by the bucket load. He is eighty-nine now, and has been chewing through books of every genre for his entire life.

Soooo a good critique partner? Well, yes, sort of.

The book I am working on now is a scifi/ fantasy. Probably not my Dad’s ‘cup of tea’, he’s more your crime/ thriller, but he does read a lot of pure scifi too, and he has read an enormous number of the classics. Now you may expect loved ones to be gentle in their feedback, maybe even overly gushy? Nope not my Dad – his response to my first draft book was that it was ‘quite good’.

Am I deflated by this? Well to put it in context, I once put a short story on a review website, my first 2 reviews were a 5/5 and a 4/5 and then my Dad reviewed it and gave it a 3/5!

It’s a good job I don’t have any kind of ego to crush!

We both had a good laugh about it, and I feel comfortable that my dear father is the last person to give over-the-top praise. He is really good at sticking with a book he starts, and reading it properly, and even with poor ones he will persevere all the way through. So with this in mind, since he read my full story in draft mode and thought it was ‘OK’ then this gives me a bit of hope.

My husband.


My husband is not a reader – at all – Ok I probably need to qualify this. His idea of holiday reading is a kindle full of technical books on being a CIO, general technology, IT architecture, as well as a diverse collection of other fact based genres including things like psychology, fitness and nutrition. He is like a well oiled fact-crunching machine, and he chews through this information based food fest with the same gusto that my father embraces the latest Tom Clancy offering. He mixes this incredibly dry kindle read list with the odd bit of mainstream in the form of Dan Brown, but he openly admits to having a poor attention span for fiction.

Soooo a good critique partner? Well, no, possibly not the best critique partner.

He managed to read my short story, and his response was ‘It doesn’t sound like you wrote this’ – make from that what you will. He managed to read the first two chapters of my main book and his response to that was ‘The chapters are too long…I like Dan Brown…he has really tiny chapters…there’s a cliff-hanger at every page…you should make it more like that!’

I have stopped trying to get him to read it…