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I've begun 'putting my life down on paper'. My husband and adult children know very little about my 'real' childhood. I've sheltered them from the worst of it, for fear it would change their view of some family members. But, I would like them to someday know what events have led up to what has 'made me the wife and mother I am today'. Is anyone willing to read/judge what I’ve done so far, & advise whether or not to continue?

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Normally, I would put a close vote on this question because you are asking for 'someone to critique and advise on my story'. This site doesn't do those things.

A second reading of your post made me think differently: I can't guess what your childhood was like. However, you suggest it wasn't pleasant because of something. I assume that 'something' is another member of your extended family. If that is the case, I suggest you contact the safeguarding representative in a local organisation (this is UK specific) or contact the local police. They can talk to you about your experience and what should, or shouldn't, be said in print (as well as providing emotional support for you). If I am wrong, tell me and I will delete this post.

Writing about a damaging experience can be cathartic. It can also bring up old wounds.

Whether to inform your husband about something in your past is beyond the scope of this website.

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Does it matter how well written it is?

You are telling your story, likely for your husband and children if you decide to share it with them.

It might even be that you will never let them read it but after you have written, you might be more ready to talk about it.

On the other hand, it might well be that your writing is much better than you fear and your result will be good to read also for outsiders, then is the time to get people advice you whether you can publish (as you may tell unwelcome truths) and if so, whether you need to re-write to make it better for publishing.

So for now, see your writing as a kind of diary, a place you can tell the truth as you experienced it.

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I could answer your second question about advising. You should definitely write your story on paper since it could show the real you to your family.

The problem is that once you put it on paper, have you thought of what will happen next? Are you aiming to get it to publish? If you do, beware that not only members of your family would see it, but the whole world would see it.

The second issue is that if you want to hide your hard childhood from your family, would you want them to know the challenges you faced? Since your children are already adults, I'm sure they can handle the hard truth. If not, don't mention it to them, yet.

Did you consider that putting your life on paper may let the words of the events comes easier for you to explain? It a way that could prepare you for all the kinds of rejection that others might think.

The Diary Of Anne Frank is one example of her story being published and made us understand that religions and race don't matter. Your story may have a similar impact on your family, so keep writing!

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Writers have many avenues for feedback on their work.

The first resource is other writers. There are online writing sites like scribophile that work on a sort of pay-it-forward system and share your work with other writers for feedback in exchange for your feedback on other writer's work. These sorts of sites usually have a work limit -- 3K-5K words - for each piece you are seeking feedback on one. There are also local writers groups in most areas. They can be found on social media sites like facebook or meetups.

The second resource is freelance editors providing developmental editing services. This is feedback on the writing and structure of the novel. Their services are not inexpensive and can range up to $5K-10K for a full novel ($0.02-$0.03 per word)

The downside of the first group -- other writers -- is they are more often than not still working on learning how to be writers and their feedback might not give you terrific insight. But, they only cost your participation in providing feedback to other writers.

The downside of the second is their expense. And, if you still learning how to be an effective writer, then their feedback can be overwhelming and intimidating since they work with professional writers as a rule. And, this group can contain scammy types. Before the age of self-publishing, less reputable freelancers were gateways to vanity presses, publishers that would publish your book if you paid them for editing and marketing costs. These types of jerks still lurk out there and promise to help you self-publish while charging you for marketing costs and cover art and editing.

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  • How does this contribute to the asker? May 10 at 22:06
  • @ArtemisSilver, the OP wants feedback on her story. I've shown her places she can get feedback. Seems to directly address the topic. How does it not contribute to the asker?
    – EDL
    May 10 at 22:38
  • Thanks for the clarification! May 11 at 0:21
  • Thank you for the input. I appreciate it. =)
    – Kari Asher
    May 11 at 15:34
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Figured I might as well make this an answer:

While critique questions are off-topic here on the main Writing.SE site, our chatrooms aren't bound by our topic guidelines (though they are of course bound by the Code of Conduct). As a result, we have a dedicated critiquing chatroom where you can post samples of your writing and have other users give feedback on them. You're perfectly welcome to use it.

Since most writing is too long to fit in a chat message, my recommended approach would be to upload your writing to a site like Pastebin and then post a link to it in the chat. Pastebin allows you to mark an upload as "Unlisted", so you don't have to worry about random people coming across your story - only those who follow the link in the chat will see it.

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