31 January 2023

Nothing New About Story-TELLING


Here we are at the end of January with the first blogpost of the month. If Christmas was quiet, January has been manic for all the wrong reasons. Despite this, I actually managed a few non-fiction shorts for Medium and attended a couple of writer events.

The Romantic Novelists’ Association

Halfway through the month was a digital meeting of the Northern Chapter of the RNA – Romantic in name now, rather than genre action, as many of us have spread our wings over the years. Zoom meetings were inaugurated during the pandemic, and the group decided to continue running them when the monthly face-to-face meetings re-started. It has helped a few far-flung members and those who can no longer travel so far. We keep meetings to Zoom’s free 40 minutes so as to focus the mind.

One of the subjects covered was revamping promotional material for our individual titles – hence the image above, which is for a Horror novella, the antithesis of Romance, which I use for marketing on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a bit grey, a bit flat, the text is bigger than the title. Yes, it needs a rethink.

Humber SFF

A few days ago I attended an Open Mic event at Humber SFF, reading – you guessed it – an excerpt from The Paintings, though in truth it was more of an edited excerpt. I had a 2,000 words limit, but had to find a standalone scene which would both make sense and not give too much away. Not easy. Horror relies on pacing and tone to build anticipation, something which can’t be achieved in half a page. I found my ending and worked backwards to its start, some 3,500 words distant. Ouch! It took four condensing edits, but on the night read well.

It was while I was in the act of reading, an ear on the reactions of the audience, that two things came to mind: The Paintings is a first person narration, and the narrator is female. This could work for self-read audio.

I’ve dabbled before, under duress and a short lead-time. I had to download Audacity, learn its software, and produce a short story, when a local in-person SFF convention had to go digital at the start of the pandemic. I recognised the merits of self-audio then, but life had other priorities.

National Storytelling Week

Tonight, I’m off to another writers’ meeting – often there’s a dearth, but sometimes they pile up like this – and the call has gone out for links to audio stories in recognition of it being National Storytelling Week.

The idea behind the dedicated week is to promote the “oldest artform in the world”: audio performance. The week came into being in 2000 and, although its original remit was firmly aimed at children, it has blossomed to embrace a wider audience, hence the call for links. Well, I have a story ready to go, but it’s no use on my harddrive. Alas, it needs to be hosted somewhere.

A list of this year’s face-to-face events can be found HERE, but there is absolutely no reason why a digital event, even a single author event, can’t contribute. Something to consider for next year if not this.