|This is a guest post by Moran Chaimovitz, 28 years old screenwriter turned novelist. Moran says, “I’m currently working on my first Sci-Fi Novel while using my writing insights to offer unconventional writing methods on Moranchaim.com I’m trying to balance my life in Israel, a daily job, and my writing routine so I can make a small impact on the world, before it makes an adult out of me.”|
Remember those times when we had actually talked to other people instead of texting? Remember those times when we got to see people’s reactions and body language instead of watching them on Youtube?
I have a secret to tell you – you can still do that, and it will serve your writing a whole lot.
Yes, you have your beta readers and their elaborated notes on .doc files. Yes, you have your online writers’ support groups that you share your ideas with. Yes, you can get those automatic rejection letters. But you’re forgetting one thing.
Storytelling was first and foremost an oral form of communication. The old and wise would tell moral stories to the youngsters around the fire (or so we like to imagine) in order to entertain and educate. Humans told stories long before Aristotle wrote about the Poetic structure and long before people could read books or watch Netflix.
Your audience would most likely experience your art without you being present (unless it’s a premiere screening or a book reading). You, as a storyteller, have to collect genuine human reactions to your story before you set it in stone for future generations.
What the hell am I talking about? I’m talking about reading your work out loud to someone.
Why should you do that?
- Stories were born to be told before they were transferred into writing
- You can only know if you nailed the dialog when you actually speak it out
- You can’t fake someone’s physical reactions to your story
If it’s funny they will laugh. If it’s sad they will frown. If it’s thrilling they’ll appear tense.
Also, if it’s not entertaining or not working – you will know without having to hear it explicitly or reading it from a red-marked document. You will just feel which part is doing well for your story and which isn’t, just by paying attention to your audience’s reactions.
It might feel awkward at first. You might feel too exposed or like you’re reading a story to a child, but trust me, it works.
Do We Always Need Verbal Critique?
I attended a writing workshop where people were not allowed to give any critique to one another. First I thought what the hell? How am I supposed to learn and improve? But then I realized I don’t need any verbal critique in order to improve.
It’s much nicer to absorb it like that, than having to sit and listen to a group of strangers giving you notes. I stopped feeling so anxious before getting notes because I had fun reading it out loud and connecting with others.
Be like a standup comedian; test your material in front of a small crowd first.
Did you read your writing out loud during the editing process? What was it like? Share your experiences in the comments.