Saturday, February 4, 2012

Open Mic Night

Ha! Guess what? I participated in an Open Mic Night at a bookstore last night.

It was awesome!

Basically, a bunch of writers gathered and read bits of their work. There was quite a mix - we had a handful of poems, a short story, some fantasy novel excerpts, and one scene from a contemporary YA novel. (That was mine.)

It was a blast. There can be such a camaraderie among writers. I love it. I think I would suggest that anybody who wants to be published some day try an open mic night somewhere, somehow. And here are my reasons:

1. Writers show up at these things. And you might make a friend or two. I've met some wonderful people already, and I've only been twice. Afterwards you can talk, share war stories, swap website urls and writing tips, and encourage people. There's nothing I like better than encouraging a good writer.

2. Learning how to read your work into a mike and not be afraid is GREAT. I'm fairly used to public speaking and such things, but the first time I did open mic night I was still a little nervous. And there were only a few people there. But I got over it. And I think that most writers can, if they're up to it.

3. There is an optimum length to a reading, and I haven't quite put my finger on it yet, but as I watch I am learning. Listening to other writers read their work aloud is helping me to gain an appreciation for a well-paced scene. I do know that you have to reach some kind of natural stopping place, and that it shouldn't take too long to do so. Five minutes? Ten minutes? Somewhere in between? I think it varies with audience and writer. Leave them wanting more.

4. The less I explain, the more fun it is. But if I have to explain, it helps to know what I'm explaining. This would be a great place for me to sharpen my elevator pitch, or even the one-line pitch.

There are those who say the days of book tours and such are coming to an end, and those who say that might just be right. BUT... the days of vlogs, conferences, and workshops are NOT at an end. How else will I learn how to be a writer in front of people if I'm not willing to practice?

Anyway. It's cool. I highly recommend it.


  1. That's awesome! I've never heard of anything like that in my area, except for poetry slams. I love acting, so reading stories aloud is fun for me.

    So, is the scene you read one from "'So, what's your book about?' she asked"? It sounds pretty interesting, and I don't normally read much contemp.

    1. Good question. I read one scene from my 'completed' book and one from one of my two fantasy novels I have going.

      (Tangent: Fantasy writing is awesome, btw. I can do all the stuff I did in contemporary... deep characters, painful friendships, learning hard things... PLUS THE ADDED VARIABLE OF STRANGE CREATURES AND STRANGER MAGIC. End tangent.)

      Thanks for asking!

    2. YES THAT IS WHY I LIKE FANTASY TOO. I love character interactions and stuff, but it really helps if they're fighting for their lives.

    3. And it's actually harder to do, for me. But I think the end result reaches more people, and I, personally, love a beautifully written fantasy novel. So much potential.