Many writing sites will tell you that when you ask someone to critique/beta read your work you should never ask your spouse or mum or anyone closely related to you. The reason for this is that they will most likely give you a biased view because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. I’m lucky enough to have both a spouse and mum who are very honest with me, and it’s something I appreciate, because I’m always openly honest (I’m a terrible liar).
I found my husband to be a fantastic sounding board in the drafting stage of my novel. I would ask his opinion on certain plot points, if he thought there was enough tension, if the ending was strong enough, etc. As yet he’s never actually sat down and read my novel. I thought in light of his usual honest opinions I would ask him to read my pitch for some feedback. This is our conversation:
Hubby (having just finished reading my pitch): Uh-huh
Me: So what did you think? Does it make you want to read the book?
Hubby: It’s about a girl.
Me (rolling my eyes): If the main character was a boy would you read it?
Hubby: I don’t read books. (This is true, he’s never been a reader and hasn’t read a novel since he was forced to in high school.)
Me: Pretend it’s for a movie, would you watch the movie?
Hubby: If the girl was hot.
Hubby: Maybe you should ask someone else to read it. Someone who knows about this kind of thing.
All I can say is, thank goodness I have a great critique partner who does know about this kind of thing. Thanks Beth!
9 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t Ask Your Spouse’s Opinion”
That’s funny. 🙂
My husband was the first person to read my novel. I knew he would be honest with me. He actually gave me really good feedback, though I had to weasel it out of him. Most of his critiquing was “I don’t get the point of [insert scene]” and “I really hate the main character. She whines a lot.” Surprisingly enough, it was the rather vague comments of his that ended up in revisions. I just had to get him to explain what he meant by them.
You are welcome! Thanks for your help on mine as well. I learn so much both from giving feedback and receiving it.
My husband will read my stuff and give me good suggestions. The problem is I’m always in tears by the end of it. For some reason, good critique bothers me when it comes from him. New rule: he has to just say he loves it. Lie to me, lie!
What a great blog. It sounds like a recent conversation with my own beloved! I laughed out loud at the hot comment!
My husband has a learning disability that makes it hard for him to read (although he’s uber-smart), so I don’t ask him to read my stuff. But once, when I asked if my jeans made me look fat, he said “I’m pretty sure it’s your butt that makes you look fat.”
He was totally kidding and we still laugh about it. But I’m still glad he hasn’t read my book!!
Brooke – When I was using my husband as a sounding board he gave me some great feedback, but he just didn’t seem to know what to say in regards to my pitch.
Beth – I don’t mind at all if my husband is brutally honest.
Jennifer – Glad you got a laugh out of it 🙂
Erica – My husband has a learning disability that makes it hard for him read as well, which is why I haven’t asked him to read my entire manuscript (and why he hasn’t read a novel since high school).
That conversation is hysterical! But I’m sure it was frustrating for you, sorry.
You have inspired me to write a blog post on the topic. Thank you. I never know what to write about.
It was frustrating, but funny to look back on. I’m glad I could inspire you 🙂
You’re blog cracked me up–typical husband. It’s good you can at least use him as a sounding board for plot ideas. My husband is horrid that way “put a bird in your story” or “how about some zombie indians to spice things up”. His ideas are dumb. And no, he has never read my stuff and I don’t know if I would let him anyway. He is supportive, but not a reader in any sense and so, just like you, I rely a lot on my critique group and beta readers.
That’s hilarious, mine would have said the same.