I’m delighted to have another fresh voice to my guest blog feature today. The lovely Jillian Boyd, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting on a number of occasions!
Over to you Jillian…
Thank you, Kay! *sits back on chair, makes herself comfortable*
Now, if you’ve met me before, I may strike you as a bit awkward. That’s because I totally am. I used to take about three years to work up the courage to actually talk to someone, let alone voice my opinion to other people.
Yeah, I’m still working on that.
When I first started writing erotic fiction, which back then was mainly on my blog, I thought (wrongly) that I was doing this just for larks; I reckoned I’d get bored and flutter off to doing something else. And then I accidentally started liking it, so much so that I started submitting stories and they started getting accepted.
Two things I wasn’t expecting back then:
One – I’d be doing a hell of a lot of networking with other authors and people.
Two – actually reading my stories, out loud, to an audience.
The first one I kind of grew into. I mean, I do still tend to feel intimidated when in large crowds, but whenever that feeling strikes me (the one where your brain’s just like “AAAARGH, I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY!”) I just take myself into a corner with a drink and observe.
The second one however…
The first time I read on stage, I was practically wetting myself with nerves. I don’t even remember why I put myself up on the list to read; I think I just wanted to say to people that I had.
I practised my piece a couple of times, and as I sat waiting for my turn, listening to the other readers, this voice in my head said “start with a joke”.
I had to give it to my brain: it was top advice. I psyched myself up, took the microphone and said something along the lines of “ha ha, I have a weird accent”. And then I read my poem. It took about 60 seconds in total, and by the time I came off stage, I was already thinking “next time, do this and that.”
Since that first go, I’ve not exactly been barnstorming it when it comes to reading in public. But as with the networking doo-ma-gog, I’ve kind of gotten used to doing it – and I hope that 2014 is a year in which I get to do it more often (*note to self: in order to achieve this, actually write more stuff*).
I have got three tips for all you erotica writers who want to have a go at reading in public –
- For your first time, don’t pick anything too lengthy, or likely to make you trip up over the words. Chances are you’ll be a bit of a bumbling nervous wreck, so pick something that flows well and that you’re comfortable with reading. If you do have any words in your piece that are guaranteed to trip you up, see if you can leave them out of the piece while reading.
- Project your voice. Even if you’re in a small venue, make sure that everyone can hear what you’re saying.
- Have fun with all the bits of it! Make a little joke while you’re introducing yourself, ask the audience how they’re doing, and most of all, read your piece with the gusto that only you can give it. If you can make ‘em laugh/cry/gasp while also getting them burning hot under the collar, you’re doing a pretty good job.
Coincidentally, I’m reading tonight – as part of the array of fabulous authors present at Meg Philip’s book launch at Sh!
Best get practising. Thank you for having me, Kay!
Jillian Boyd lives in That There London, with her boyfriend, a convection heater and a curious cat. She’s been writing ever since she realized that real life is a bit dull and imagination is much better. Most of her stories are dreamed up at night, which is very inconvenient when you’re trying to get some sleep. Her vices include Nutella, Mads Mikkelsen’s cheekbones and the works of Stephen King. She has been published by the likes of Constable and Robinson and House of Erotica, and is currently working on her first novel. Someday, she hopes to actually discover Narnia in the back of her closet.
Many thanks for dropping y with a blog today Jilly! Good luck at Sh tonight. You’ll be brilliant- just watch that Meg Philips- she’ll be after a spanking!