I asked on Twitter today: Do you show family your work to read or do you rely mainly on strangers? A close writer friend (theames) said she only relies on strangers.
The reason I asked was I just recently finished my 2nd novel. I've sent to one beta that I read for and one cousin who doesn't have a lot going on in her life and loves to read. But I also shared my recent work with my mother-in-law *waves*. Now, I didn't really give it to her hoping for a critique but I shared it with her becasue she has been uber supportive.
But all of this got me thinking. Is my friend right and strangers are the way to go? Or can your family be brutally honest and offer the best critique?
Writing is very personal even though we all hope to share our work with the world. But even then, we don't know everyone in the world and have to worry about weird looks at Christmas from Aunt Sue because she beta read your work and thought you needed a lot of work but feels she has to tip-toe around you.
For me, I agree with theames in that I think strangers, reliable ones that you have developed a writing relationship with, can offer the best critique because even though they don't want to hurt your feelings, they also know that this is strictly business and their job is to offer you, the writer, their best critique. It's a partnership. The person I read for I truly want them to suceed and I feel they want the same for me. We're in the same boat so I give her 110% and expect the same in return.
Although, I have just added my cousin as a reader and I believe she will be all business and offer her best. She's that type of person. (Lucky me!)
Now of course, this is what works for me and not what works for everyone. And like most of you, I'm still learning. But I've been at this for about 2 years and have had my share of readers that didn't work out but I've learned from those experiences and know what I needed to do to find the ones I have.
With that said, if you are interested in developing a beta relationship with me, drop me a comment and I would love to look into it with you. Me personally, I'm really quick but not the best with grammar. I think my strongest part is character development.
What do you think? Family or strangers?