There is nothing better for sharpening your words than reading them out loud. Wait, there is one thing better – reading your words out loud to an audience. Recently I was invited to read Once Upon an Island to a small audience of small people. It’s been a while since I’ve read from OUAI and I found I had obtained a great deal of objective distance from it.
The first time I inflicted this story on a patient audience my pencil never stopped making marks as obvious changes came thick and fast. What I could never have learned, without the help of readers, was the process of choice. Reading OUAI again recently, I found myself relearning about this and I think my latest story will benefit from it.
The great finding however was that after you leave a story for a long while you can accept it and feel very good about it. It was such a delicious experience sharing the work, enjoying excitement and tension and laughs. About a year ago I read for a group of kids in front of a reporter who wanted to get ‘a kids experience’ of my first book. I felt like a possum in the headlights and I was very glad when it was all over. Without reporters and photographers the experience of reading is much nicer.