Last night, Chris and Christie of our writer’s group took part in a story telling session, and Leah and I were in the audience to cheer them on. The informal meet up took place in the cosy, leather armchair strewn upper room of the Small Bar in Bristol’s centre. Christie read her short story, ‘The Magnificent Escape of Beryl Bigsby,’ and Chris read ‘Death of a Superhero,’ complete with doing the character voices! To judge from the enthusiastic audience reaction, both stories tickled a funny bone. Generous slurping of craft beers available (with names like Weird Beard!) helped the cheering along, no doubt. Other notable readers on the bill included Peter Sutton, Nathan Williams and Lindsey Turney, all introduced as published authors with novels and short stories in print.
The joy of story telling nights like this is that fans of a good story and the writers of them get a chance to meet and share face to face. Who doesn’t love a gripping yarn, spellbindingly told in person by the one who crafted it? The other positives of these sort of sessions are that fellow authors get to meet and network, plus gain exposure for their portfolio of published or developing work.
Established authors tell us that reading aloud is a really good way to test out your story, see if it flows well and, particularly, if the dialogue between characters works when spoken. Sometimes, what seems fine on the page sounds formal, stilted or just not ‘in that character’ when read out loud. Testing it out on some friends is always useful and, if the character has a strong regional accent, gives you a chance to hear them ‘in real life,’ so to speak. Do they still sound convincing or contrived and cliche?
Roll on the next story telling night.