May272011

Advice for Author Readings


I am very leery of attending author readings, I must say. With the exception of a noted few, they have universally trod a delicate line between mind-numbingly monosyllabic and astonishingly tedious. Suffice it to say, Gentle Reader, that I have met very few authors who would not benefit from the following advice.

The tips below are courtesy of the lovely [info]maryrobinette who gave the best panel I attended at WorldCon in 2008 (and that is saying a lot, I went to some splendid panels back then). She had many more tips than just the following, and gave us a first-rate hand-out (which I still have, filed under “Really Important Advice”). I pulled only those few things I found most advantageous for this blog.

  • Avoid drinking dairy, OJ, caffeine, and other mucus educing beverages, but do drink water.
  • Choose a scene with a small cast of characters; one that is self contained (has a beginning, middle, and end), and is replete with suitably lush language.
  • Prepare by going through and underlining the emphasis word in each sentence.
  • Practice at least 2x first, preferably in front of an audience.
  • Speak slower when reading, use your “phone voice” to encourage extra care and enunciation.
  • Look up and make eye contact with your audience.
  • Get in touch with your inner diva.
  • Make sure your narrator has emotional investment.
  • When trying out character voices try listening to an actor who might sound like your character.
  • Feminine is slightly higher and fluid, masculine lower and more staccato.
  • When doing dialogue between 2 characters, look to one side of the room for one character, and to the opposite side for the other.
  • British English is spoken at the front of the mouth. (As a result of this statement, I spent the rest of the convention fascinated by the mouths of Englishmen.)

Your moment of parasol . . .

Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:

Your Tisane of Smart:
DIY: Striped Umbrella
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Elen Datlow
on BEA 2011

Timeless: Back from editor, off to Gamma (who is taking it to Israel). My book travels where I haven’t!
Secret Project F: Plod plod.
Secret Project PPA: Only a twinkle in my little eye.


BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON’T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven’t read the other books first!

Direct link to the audio from me reading from Blameless at SF in SF

Quote of the Day:
“A baby is an alimentary canal with a loud voice at one end and no responsibility at the other.”
~ Jerome K. Jerome

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