Should you perform your writing?

Novel Night sheet
The wonderful line-up.

One of my 2015 goals was to do a reading. So I was pretty chuffed when a couple of weeks ago I was invited to read at a Novel Nights’ event last week, which was a short story special featuring Tania Hershman.

I’ve not read in front of that many people before, so I was a tad nervous. I knew I didn’t want to ‘just’ read – I wanted to bring the two stories to life. This is why I was nervous. I was going to perform my pieces. I was worried it might be a tad too much for people…

What feels like a long time a go, I wanted to be an actor (I don’t like using the word actress – my Dad would always use it instead of ‘drama queen’), but the stress and build-up towards a performance always left me waaaay too ill afterwards. I loved exploring characters and becoming them, but I hated the limelight. It seemed so many people around me wanted to be famous, but me – I just loved the art. It’s no wonder that I eventually became a writer, eh? Marriage. Heaven. Until you realise how important it is to do events.

Performance notes.

The two stories I had to read were first person and so were the perfect opportunity to bring the two together – writing and performance. The first one I was going to read was from the perspective of a teenage boy (due to be published soon), which was going to be tricky, but I was often given a male role in plays so I figured I’d cope. I decided to do this one at the last minute when we found out that poor Tania was ill! I spent my lunch hour at work and after work before the event scoring my printed copy like a piece of music – underlining words to emphasise, adding arrows to show when to speed up, and stage directions for hand movements.

A nervous me, just before reading.

So I had my two pieces ready. Scored. And practiced. Now it was time to read them between a super-moon and an eclipse. It was a great evening and I managed to deliver them without a hiccup. I threw my arms about, swore loudly, and pretended to swallow something ghastly. There were a few laughs in the right places and I had some lovely feedback (which was really needed – thank you everybody). I enjoyed watching and hearing the other writers performing too, and seeing their different styles and stories. One thing I think I need to improve on are my answers in Q&As – I’m not sure I articulated myself quite so well. But, practice makes perfect…

There was one question/comment that was brought up about the first piece, saying he could imagine it as a girl, which I answered with ‘is that because a girl performed it?’ But this opened up many questions for me afterwards about gender stereotypes which I will save for another time… perhaps when the piece is up online in May.

Thanks to everyone from Novel Nights for such a great evening. I can officially say that I have completed one of my 2015 writing goals. Now for the others…

How do you like writers to read their work?


4 thoughts on “Should you perform your writing?

  1. Wow, it’s so exciting how your writing career is really opening up now 🙂 Sounds amazing, I wish I’d seen it. I’d love to read my work, but I don’t know that I could ever act it out.

    1. It’s a sort of dramatised version – I didn’t walk about really. Not quite the same as doing a play. You’d be fine, I’m sure! It’s just takes nerve and practice. 🙂

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