PUBLIC SPEAKING – WHO ME?

What did you sayYou hear these words and your voice starts shaking, your knees wobble, and your body feels wet from the sweat rolling around. You are a writer and now you are an author, so suck it up.

As an author, you need to present yourself to the public. Why? To sell your book, get asked to give presentations, be a guest on a program, and be recognized as a great speaker. But, you cannot do this without practice. Fear? Yes, fear is at the heart of all speakers, at the beginning, and probably every time they stand in front of an audience.

Remember, there is no greater speaker than that of an author. Who wrote the book? You. Who knows what the book is all about? You. Who knows about the funny places? You. Who can present the scenes of love, friendship, suspense and frustrations? You.

Now is the time for practice. Volunteer at your writer meetings to give an introduction for another author. No, not you. Volunteer to do presentations at a special meeting. Get yourself up out of your chair and behind the podium or even just  in front of a group with a microphone in your hand.

But, wait. You need to know how you sound with a microphone. Is your voice too loud? Are you speaking too fast, and no one can understand you? Does your voice stay in the same tone, like a monotone and no emotion comes out? Do you slur your words?

So, what do you do? If you have a tape recorder, use it. You can listen to yourself and might not even recognize your voice. Keep trying, and trying, and trying. Are you punching some of your words? Trying to emphasize words to get attention. Vary the pitch of your voice and you will have your audience captivated. Do not forget a pause between some words. This comes when you want your audience to be with you, listen, and feel what you do. You want your audience to stay with you from beginning to end.

What about your body? No, not the size, but what your audience sees as they listen. Are you dressed for the occasion? You need to find out about the type of audience you are addressing: a sports audience and you come in evening clothes? I doubt it. Or the reverse: an evening crowd and you come in your workout clothes? Yeah, I went overboard, but this gives you a chance to think about your audience. You need to invoke emotion and interest through non-verbal communication, known as body language. Facial expressions and gestures are a neat beginning. Eye contact is another very important communication. People in the audience love to think you are looking at only them. Give them your best.

A goof-up? Hey, we all mispronounce words, forget some words, and the best recovery is to acknowledge them and laugh at yourself. Your audience will laugh with you. Be sincere and honest.

Now, that you have done some practicing at home, in front of a mirror, and practiced, practiced, and practiced, it is time to take you and your book out before a live audience. Most of all, have fun with your time before the audience. They will feel part of your presentation and you will find yourself with new fans.

SPEAK UP.  SPEAK SLOW.  SPEAK YOUR BEST. PROMOTE YOUR WRITING.

o

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MOIST MONDAY

BlogYes, I am another day behind schedule. We’ve had rather moist days, which included Monday and the rest of the week. I wanted to get online and talk about how weather can hit our writing, but needed to stay off the keyboard.

Many thoughts ran through my head: could I write upside down and would my computer work in the wind and rain? Local news and CNN kept me informed and I shut down. Sleep? If you can sleep with both ears open for odd sounds, one eye, which did not close, hearing the wind howl, branches of trees screeching, and flashlights from heaven, in the form of lightning bolts, bringing daylight into your whole room, my hat is off to you.

This brought me to relate weather with writing. We all need some calm downtime to gather our thoughts, remove our worries, and make these distortions the smaller size instead of escalating. Storms are scary, even frightening, yet have you ever noticed your writing sizzle during these times. It’s like, get that hesitation, that fear, that feeling of isolation into your character. If your setting is in a bleak area and a storm is on the horizon, you have the experience of your storm to give to your character’s storm. You give yourself to the situation and do not hesitate. You now know what the wind sounds like and how it feels to see lightning streak across the room.

Storms can create havoc in your writing. You get to SHOW your hesitancy and can apply this to a character. Your anxieties do not hide, and you transfer these to your characters. You notice your breathing becoming short and heavy. Your hearing sharpens for any unfamiliar noise. Is it a panic attack or just plain nerves? I’d go for the nerve bit. However, if your character needs an attack of sorts, go for it. Weather can make us do strange things, and let your character do the same.

Clouds are once again gathering and the tree limbs nodding a little faster. So, a short MOIST MONDAY is in progress.

Chaotic Writing. Fantastic Writing. Safe Writing.

p.s. May all the victims of the recent and still to come storms be remembered

 

 

A SILENT WORKOUT FOR YOUR WRITING

images_028Yes, you read WRITE. Have some fun with your work and sharpen your skills at the same time. Sound intriguing? Let’s get started.

First you need to use your current WIP or one you just put up because nothing seemed right – or both, but separately. It might help to print out the first five chapters.Why? You are going to critique your own work and you need to be comfortable and have a red, yes red, pen ready for action.

When we write, we use our words to paint pictures. Sometimes, the pictures are cloudy, or we use the wrong color, or stick our fingers in where we shouldn’t. Maybe your reader cannot feel the painted words, or the color does not set well with the them. Whatever, the reason, we have not given our reader a true picture with our words. We can see them, but we need THE READER TO FEEL THEM.

Now, go to your video and pull out a movie. Your choice, but try to get one in the same genre as your work. All set, ready to go? Not quite, until you turn off the sound. I hear groans and why’s all over the place. Because, this is one way to see what you need to write to get the picture over to your reader.

In movies, we always see what is happening. In writing, we need to let the reader see what is happening with words. Watch certain movie scenes and, if any can match some of your scenes, hit the “STOP” button at any time and shuffle through your printed pages. Do you find yourself telling the reader what is happening? If so, grab your red pen  and mark NEED TO SHOW. Then go back to your movie and see if you can put into words what is happening on the video.

This may take several rounds, but once you get a handle on the movie scenes and your work scenes, you can have lots of fun, put new phrases together, and learn the art of showing by painting word pictures.

Now, when you get stuck in a scene or on a scene, grab a video. When you go to the movies, enjoy each scene with the recognition of ‘oh, that’s how they do that.’ And come home and see what you can do to your writing. Even movies have to have a written script, but it is the director and the actors who make the film come alive.

You are now the director, and all the actors of your novel. Make your words jump off the page right in front of the reader, or pull the reader into your novel with your picture words. You can do it.

Happy Directing. Happy Acting. Happy Writing.