New Year’s Ink

Posted by Tom Moore

Well, another Christmas has come and gone and now the horrors of 2012 stand before us. As people make ready to drink heavily and make rash promises, we think back over the past year and ask: what have we learned?

Well, I can put my hand up and say I’ve learned a great deal this year, especially since my first public reading at Illicit Ink’s Midsummer Murder Mystery in July. For example, I learned I have a pathological problem with deadlines. That sometimes my first drafts are so bad they physically hurt to look at. And that no matter how much prep I do, there’s always, ALWAYS, a tiny moment before I start performing when I wish I was thousands of miles away, doing something totally unlike standing in silence in front of a microphone.

Not all of what I learned was bad, in fact, most of it was really positive. I was taught the wonderful high of a roomful of people hanging on your every word, instant feedback in every laugh or a gasp. I discovered the glory of a well polished final draft.

But the most important thing I learned is that public reading is a lot like Christmas. There can be a lot of stress and tension in the build up but at the end of the day it’s a lot of fun, and a brilliant way to share (and improve) your writing. If you’re looking to try something new in 2012, I heartily recommend it.

If you fancy having a go, here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.

  • Not too long – Audiences can be a forgiving bunch, but don’t test their patience. They’d much rather have something short and sweet than to sit there for quarter of an hour listening to your epic masterpiece.
  • Don’t be afraid of the mic – Microphones can be a source of terror to the uninitiated, but they’re easily mastered once you’ve got the grips with a few simple techniques (which we’ll be more than happy to show you).
  • Come in costume – Many readers find becoming a character adds extra sparkle to their readings. Not everyone does, of course, but even something as simple as your best suit can help your confidence.

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