The Writers Circle: Previews

One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

When you are working on a new piece, be it a short story or a longer work, do people ask to read what you have so far? Do you let them? Or do you wait until the first draft is completed before sharing it with others?

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.

16 thoughts on “The Writers Circle: Previews

  1. I”ll usually read the first part of it to my husband out loud. He’s very critical, which gives me a good way to see if I’m headed in the right direction. I find this is best to do early on before your path is too set so that there’s still time to change directions.

  2. It depends on who’s asking. I’d be inclined to show early chapters to a friend also writes/edits fiction but I do have this notion (from experience) that trusting the anyone else might harm my process…

  3. My Alpha’s can see it but the rest I talk out of it.

  4. I tend to avoid letting people see it until I get to “the end”. Then I’ll share it with a handful of beta readers, after I’ve done at least one pass for general editing (spelling, punctuation, etc.). A couple years ago, I decided to post chapters of my in-progress NaNoWriMo novel onto my blog as I wrote them. It was fine, I guess, but I got no feedback/comments and this stressed me out too much. Plus, I found that I was writing more slowly and carefully and kind of editing as I wrote (which is not what you’re supposed to do during November!) — I was doing this because others were going to see it and I couldn’t allow it to go completely unedited.

    Basically, except for that one year on NaNoWriMo, I tend to not want to have people read an in-progress work. Some of this might be due to me not wanting input too soon in the process out of fear that it will derail the effort before it’s been completed.

  5. Oh–wait. I don’t even send emails out without making them as perfect as possible. Who knows whose listening?

  6. I do sometimes ask the opionion of others, but it’s generally only a small section or passage, and only to make sure I’m on the right track. Something like: “Read the first two paragraphs…would you be interested,” or “Does the exchange between these 2 characters make sense.”

    And I find that I usually request these reads before I’ve locked in to the “center” of the story…while I’m still trying to get on a roll. Once I’m on a roll, I probably won’t ask for anyone to look it over until the first draft is done.

    • I do the ‘would you keep reading?’ thing as well. It helps me know if the beginning is good enough that the rest of the story even matters.

  7. I have sought the opinions of others over particular parts of something I’m writing (a writer’s group or occasionally my significant other), and have had mixed results. Sometimes, it has helped to see the story through others’ eyes, and to fix things (such as eliminating the entire first chapter of a historical novel I’ve shelved for the time being). Sometimes, though, having someone else look at it before I’ve finished the first draft paralyzes my creative process. I can no longer see past the critique to move the story along.

    In the current novel I’ve been writing, I have not asked anyone to read any of it. I’m just letting it flow as it flows, and when I get to the end (I know generally where I’m going), then I’ll ask for a read-through.

  8. I have my daughters and one friend who I trust read what I’ve written after it’s finish. I have only one rule, and that is I will not let my husband read what I’ve written. It’s a lose/lose situation for both of us so in order to remain married he’s not allowed to read it. lol

  9. I don’t let anyone read it until I have either completed finished editing it or can’t stand to look at it any longer, whichever comes first. My sister, Ella, is my first reader and depending on her reaction, I pass it along to my other siblings and friends. -RB

  10. No one reads it unless I’m collaborating with another person on the project. Maybe after a couple re-writes, I’ll let a professional read it critically.

  11. First draft? You kidding? Nobody reads a word until I think I’m finished, a condition that nearly always proves false. Few of my friends and none of my family is interested in what I write, perhaps a good thing. I’m a member of a crit group and they’ve read parts of my books, sometimes offering decent advice which I consider. I just gave a copy of my newest book to someone who’s begged several times to read it, so I’m counting on her sincerity. Think maybe I should try to figure out why I have such a tough time getting anyone to read my work? Or maybe pay a pro who can give me real insight? Jury is out. I may hire Jacqui’s house plant.

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