Learning How To Read

I did a Lit Crawl LA:NoHo reading last night at the Laemmle Royal in Santa Monica. Probably my fourth or fifth such reading in public. Got another one coming up next Wednesday downtown. It doesn’t make me want to vomit the way it did a couple of months ago—so that’s progress.

I’ve got a ways to go before I’m “good” at it, but I’m starting to figure a few things out. For one, it’s clear to me that the goal should be to read from memory. Looking down at the page for most of the reading, with only the occasional awkward peek up at the audience, just isn’t cutting it. That’s going to take some serious work.

The other thing is laughter. Whether I’m the one doing the reading or I’m in the audience, hitting a comedic moment in a reading is a real ice breaker. Sometimes that can be the actual text, but a lot of the time it’s in the delivery. Those moments when the author reacts to the gruesomeness of their own work, tries to read in a challenging character voice or does a funny hand gesture at just the right moment.

The story I read last night was called “Fix Me,” and at 1,300 words it was probably the longest thing I have read out loud to date. What I discovered is that once I was into the story, I kind of lost all sense of time—like I didn’t know if I had been reading for a minute or twenty minutes. It made me a little self-conscious, worried that I was boring the crowd. And then I reached a funny point in the story, I got a couple of loud laughs, and everything was alright.

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I guess the main thing I have learned, both as a reader and as an observer, is this: writing is solitary, but reading is performance. The two might be related, but need to be approached differently.

Lucky for me, I’ve gotten great advice from a couple of pros. Check out these interviews with Eric Beetner and Johnny Shaw for tips on how to deliver a memorable reading of your work.

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published by Rare Bird Books in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Great Writing Tips From Publishers & Authors

I have been very lucky to interview some great Indie publishers over the last year. Most of them are writers as well.

From e-mags and quarterly print publications, to anthologies, novellas and novels, these are the people bringing fresh new voices to the crime fiction world.

Here is a collection of recent quotes along with a few interview excerpts. Click on the links to read the full interviews.

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Craig T. McNeely is owner and editor-in-chief of Double Life Press and a writer. His short fiction has appeared in All Due Respect, Thuglit, Flash Fiction Offensive and more. He lives in Arkansas where he’s quietly plotting the takeover of the publishing world.

Read the Craig T. McNeely interview HERE.

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[Interview excerpt]

Both of your novels were published by your own company, Follow Your Dreams (FYD) Media. Why did you originally decide to take an independent approach to publishing?

The technology is out there to publish, distribute, and promote like never before. I once got the opportunity to speak to Sue Grafton who said, “Wait. Give it time and the book will get (traditionally) published.” I just kept thinking, “Why wait? What for?”

Read the Laurie Stevens interview HERE.

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Christopher Black is a noir writer of little note and editor-in-chief of Number Thirteen Press—a project to publish thirteen quality crime novellas, one on the thirteenth of each month for thirteen months.

Read the Christopher Black interview HERE.

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Great Advice From Awesome Authors

I have been very lucky to interview some awesome authors and publishers over the last year. From short story masters to award-winning novelists, and everything in between, they all have great advice and words of encouragement for new and emerging writers.

Here is a collection of recent quotes along with links to the full interviews. Take a look and see if there is something here for you. If you like what they have to say, please make sure to check out some of their published works. And don’t be afraid to share their advice—these authors deserve to be discovered by even more readers and writers.

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Read the Rob Hart interview HERE.

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Read the Sarah M. Chen interview HERE.
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The Power Of Audio Fiction

TFFO logoI’m a big podcast listener, so I spend a lot of time thinking about ways to use audio to distribute and promote fiction. There are some really great examples of fiction podcasts out there including Selected Shorts, Crime City Central , CrimewaveThe Truth and Title 18: Word Crimes—to name a few.

I was lucky enough to interview Erik Arneson and Scott Detrow from the Title 18: Word Crimes podcast in December, and this is an excerpt from what they had to say about audio fiction:

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[Erik Arneson and Scott Detrow interview excerpt]  What place do you think podcasting has in the current short story market? Where will it be in a year? Five years?

Erik Arneson: Podcasting and short stories are a perfect match. In the U.S., the average commute time is 25 minutes – basically, the ideal length to listen to a short story. Podcasts are exploding in popularity right now, with Serial being Exhibit A. I think that growth will continue over the next five years.

Scott Detrow: It’s been interesting to watch podcasts come back into style. I did a news podcast with a couple other political reporters several years ago, and at the time we all joked that it was a retro, throwback medium. (Actually, come to think of it, Erik was one of that podcast’s biggest fans, so maybe he disagrees!) But suddenly, they’re massively popular again. I think you have to credit apps that made it easier to deliver new episodes right to listeners.

Read the whole interview HERE.

Dead Beats PostcardInspired by my email exchange with Erik and Scott, I decided to create an audio version of my story DEAD BEATS that was published by The Flash Fiction Offensive over at Out of the Gutter Online. Tom and Joe from the editorial team liked the additional content so much that they asked me to start contributing more audio on a semi-regular basis. The first offering is a dark, twisted and mind-blowing short story called DADDY’S GIRL by Nicky Kennington.

It’s pretty time-consuming, but a lot of fun. So, you can expect more audio from me—for my own work, and from the vaults over at The Flash Fiction Offensive—in the near future.

S.W. Lauden is a writer and drummer living in Los Angeles. His short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Akashic Books, QuarterReads and Crimespree Magazine. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published in 2015. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION. You can read one of his recent short stories right HERE.