Creative writers write to entertain. They entertain themselves, and they entertain those who dare to read what they write. This can be both good and bad.

If you write to entertain others, that's good. If some of your family members get hold of your work, that's bad. Of course, the last time they wrote anything was on a postcard in 1958, but they are an expert on writing. Somehow, moms, sisters and all the Aunt Tillies of the world always know exactly what is lacking.

There seems to be a school for writing advisors out there somewhere, and all of your family attended it. No one knows what they learned, or where, or when, but they seem to have graduated at the top of their class. They want you to know what they know because you should have already known it. Capice?

No one would guess these well-disguised editors have such a glowing secret career. Most people would think they are a common reader.

They read a magazine – somewhere – they can't remember where – but it said you should have done it thus and so. You obviously didn't read that article. You probably told too much about one character and not nearly enough about another.

And "while I'm at it," they will

say, "I might as well tell you the whole truth." And you're thinking – "No, tell me anything but the whole truth." But they continue anyway.

"The setting was too flowery and frankly, a little boring. You know I wouldn't hurt you for the world, so I'm saying this for your own good… "

And you're thinking, "I'll bet she wants to spare me rejection, humiliation and discouragement."

And of course, they always "say it in love". God help you when someone says something "in love". You know you're about to get both barrels.

Wouldn't you like to "let them have it"? Just once? You might say something like this:

"And just who asked you anything to start with? I said you could read my story, not slice it and dice it and serve it as a sardine soufflé.

"What school did you go to anyway? Which courses did you take? I took Creative Writing 101 and Short Story Writing. I was totally unaware of your expertise. If I had only known of your editing skills, I could have saved a pile of dough. Where did you say you did your intern? I know a lot of people who could use your help. People who would appreciate it a lot more than I do.

"How much did you say you charge? You know what? I'm sorry I ever let you read my work. I'll be most happy to write you a check for your services. Who should I make it out to? Ima Shredder?

"I admit, I really don't appreciate this like I should. Here's your check. And by the way, do you have any stories I could read?"

Just once, wouldn't you like to say that? I would. Maybe that's what heaven is all about.