I did the unthinkable recently and gave my mother a copy of my manuscript (LEGACY OF THE EMPRESS) and asked her to read it and tell me what she thought. There is a running gag out there among literary agents and writers alike that it doesn't count if your mother or spouse love your book, because they are going to love it no matter what.
However, I know better. Maybe I'm an exception, maybe I've been cursed/blessed, but for whatever reason, my mother has always been honest with me about my writing.
So I handed it over, all 308 pages of it in a big, black binder and waited in white-knucked anticipation.
All I could think for weeks was whether or not she'd gotten to the part with the cannibalism. Or the part with the sexy nakedness. Or the part where... well, you get the picture.
Isn't it funny how we write this stuff, hoping to have it published and shown to thousands and thousands of people, and yet we get extra nervous about our family seeing it?
The verdict finally came in this weekend.
Instead of saying she loved it and she wanted my autograph, Mom told me she had "opinions," and then let me have it. Luckily, "it" was a slew of very helpful suggestions and a list of the parts that just weren't working for her. No, the end didn't explain everything satisfactorily, and no, she wasn't sad when the supposed-to-be-sad bit occured. No, she didn't like how fill-in-the-blank went down. And here are ways I can make it better.
Needless to say, although I was a tiny bit disappointed that I hadn't written a perfect book despite my best efforts, I was THRILLED that she would be so honest with me and give me the tough feedback I needed.
Thanks to my mom and my awesome husband, I am having Re-Write Week and feeling very encouraged and excited about my new-and-improved novel. I feel so blessed that I have a mom who trusts me enough to know I won't go crazy on her if she tells me the truth.
Critical moms truly are gangsta as hell.