Tuesday, January 15, 2013

In Front of a Live Audience

by Gary Fearon, Creative Director, Southern Writers Magazine

In his Golden Globe acceptance speech Sunday night (for the movie Django Unchained), writer/director Quentin Tarantino provided some valuable insight into his approach to writing award-winners.  Specifically thanking the friends who are part of his life when he is writing, he explained that they don't realize how important they are to the creative process.

"When I read it to you, I hear it through your ears," said Tarantino, who shares scenes with his friends, not so much to receive feedback as to test his work out loud in front of an actual audience.

We've all heard that it's good practice for writers to read their work aloud to see if it sounds as good in the ear as it does on the page.  But wouldn't it be great to have a live audience to bounce every new scene off of?

Most of us actually do have that opportunity if we're connected to a writers group, as there are often fellow writers willing to stay late or meet separately for the purpose of some mutual critiquing.

At the same time, many of us are such perfectionists that we don't want to release our words until we ourselves have honed them to our personal satisfaction.  Both methods do the trick, and it clearly depends on the individual.  With as many approaches to writing as there are writers, it's all a matter of whatever works for you.

The question is, Is your particular approach working for you?  Are you getting as much written as you'd like, and are you pleased with what's getting on the page?  If the answer is no, perhaps another method would be worth a try.

If you're finding that you leave your critique group feeling confused or discouraged, it may be time to work as a loner until you regain your equilibrium. Or if you've written alone for so long that you find it hard to gauge how your adoring public will react, it could well be time to branch out and seek some hearing ears.

Whether we read our work aloud to ourselves or to others whose opinions we value, let's sing Quentin's Theme and hear our words through the audience's ears.


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