With Christmas comes time to catch up with the family. I took the two-hour trip south to Neelyville and found a house full of company, not just my parents. Among the company was my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. My sister and my mom both have copies of Dreams of Steam II: Brass and Bolts. After reading it, they both did something very interesting.
They read it. Out loud.
It’s not the reading that intrigues me, it’s that they both read the story for their husbands. Doing this gave my story another audience, people who might enjoy the story even though they might not read fiction all that often.
Yes, I know this is my family that I’m talking about. Family is notorious in most circumstances for placating writers; that’s why I don’t include my immediate family in any potential beta reading list. With one exception, the members of my family have all read published copies of “Dreams of Freedom.”
I bring this up because I got to sit in the living room and watch as my sister, my dad, and my brother-in-law talked about my story. I listened as Mom said a few things as well, but stayed quiet as she listened to the discussion as well. All but one felt it ended too soon, in the sense that they wanted more. Dad realized that’s where that part of the tale ended, though it could be the cowboy sort of conclusion “Dreams of Freedom” has.
I don’t plan on offering my family any of my stories first, if only to keep up the quality level. But if I can deliver on this kind of story again, I think they’ll have more to discuss in the future.