This evening I’ll be going out to another short story reading event, and it’s got me thinking about the audiences we write for.
Tonight’s story is adapted from one I wrote a while ago. I’m very happy with how it reads on the page, but when it comes to reading it aloud, I found I needed to cut a lot of description, tighten up the examples, lose some of the more languid language.
This month all the prompts will encourage you to try writing (or adapting) a short story with a specific audience in mind.
Write A Story Designed To Be Performed Out Loud
- Take a story you wrote in the past and try to cut it down for a 7 minute reading slot. For me, this works out to somewhere around 1,000-1,100 words
- Or write a new story to the same specs.
- Think about places where you want the audience to react. You probably want an ‘aha’ moment a few sentences in, as they start to see where the story is going, along with an “oooo” at the climax.
- If you’re going for funny, reach past the first joke you wrote and see if you can punch it up a little.
- Likewise, if you want your story to be poignant, look at the language aroudn the most tear-jerking moment of the story and see how you can make it concise and clear and yet still carry emotion.
- Practice reading your story out loud. Make sure you’re not droning. Vary your pitch. Vary your sentence lengths. Pay attention to any sentences where you run out of breath. Cut or divide it.
- As you read aloud, pay attention to where your own mind starts to wander. You can bet your audience will have checked out too. Cut or reshape that section.
- Bonus Points: Record a video or audio of yourself reading the story and share a link to it here. (You can do this by recording audio or video on your phone and sharing either on YouTube). I’ll try to remember to tape myself tonight and share that!