My wife hasn't read my books. She doesn't read my short stories. Doesn't really follow my blog. How incredibly unsupportive, you might say. How not-cool is she? My wife, I assure you, is very, very cool. Much cooler than I am, or pretend to be. But she doesn't read my work.
It's actually my fault that she doesn't. She's known, for as long as she's known me, that I'm absolutely terrible at keeping secrets. If I buy her a birthday gift a few months in advance, she'll probably be opening it that same day. I just can't not spill the beans. I would have been the worst secret agent ever.
By now she knows everything that happens in my books, because I tell her about them. Breathlessly, usually. And she knows where The Colonists and The Travelers are going. She knows the giant rug I'm about to yank out from under some of my characters. And it cracks her up when my characters zig instead of zag, and catch me off-guard.
But I got curious about other writers, and how their significant others interact with their books. Are my wife and I an anomaly, or the rule? I polled a bunch of authors on an indie writer forum I participate in, and the very, very scientific results were rather surprising:
Most of the writers who responded shared some common themes:
- My S.O. doesn't read books.
- My S.O. doesn't read my genre.
- My S.O. doesn't read my books.
- My S.O. doesn't know I write.
- My S.O. thinks I write gross things.
- My S.O. thinks that my books are boring.
- My S.O. thinks that I'm doing homework.
- My S.O. can't read English.
- My S.O. would rather watch reality shows.
The few whose partners do read their work had a few common themes as well:
- My S.O. nitpicks my work.
- My S.O. reads my books, but it's like pulling teet.
- My S.O. thinks that I should write books like John Grisham.
- My S.O. doesn't understand fiction and thinks metaphor is stupid.
I confess that among these research participants, I consider myself incredibly fortunate, and an anomaly. My wife doesn't read my books... but she hangs on my every word when I tell her about them. And she doesn't mess around when she thinks my story's going off the rails. I wouldn't change a bit of this, not for nothing.