It would be wonderful to get some new readers for this year’s slam, much as I love my regulars (you know who you are). If you’ve never read your work aloud to an audience before, Helen J Perry has some excellent tips. For the Eroticon session, I’ve got a few more specific ones.
Erotic readings – what not to do
I’ve been running live erotica slams for a couple of years now, and there has only ever been one occasion when I had to put a stop to someone’s reading. I’ve also attended other slams and seen more than one reader die on their arse: sometimes by having totally misjudged the mood of the audience, sometimes by poor preparation i.e. embarking on something with a long, slow buildup and running out of time before it got remotely interesting; sometimes by being overwhelmed by embarrassment and/or lust. (Yes, actually, it was me who decided it would be a good idea to read the piece that was inspired by someone I was massively in lust with WHILE THAT PERSON WAS SITTING IN THE FRONT ROW. Won’t happen again.)
So: pick an extract you are comfortable reading. It doesn’t have to be the most hardcore, explicit part of the story, or the most deeply personal blogpost.
Give us a bit of context, if necessary. I don’t intend to follow the format some people use, of keeping readers to a time limit by clutching a stopwatch and spanking paddle to punish those who overrun (not least because there are FAR too many people who will overrun on purpose just to get their arses whacked…) but that doesn’t mean you get a free pass to ramble on indefinitely about your writing life/the entire plot of the novel before getting down to business – stick to your five minutes pretty closely, please. But bear in mind it helps your listeners appreciate your reading if you give an indication of who the characters are and why they are doing whatever they are doing right now.
Whether you want to bring it to a climax or tease us into seeking out the rest of it for ourselves is up to you, but try to avoid something that just fizzles out. It’s also a difficult trick to pull off if you start with the really filthy bits and then move on to the post-orgasmic cup of tea and trip to the loo.
Do you enjoy reading aloud?
Last, or nearly last of all, don’t feel you have to force yourself to participate if you come out in a cold sweat at the thought of speaking in public. Some of us love being up on a stage – or any available equivalent – but lots of writers would rather stick their head in a bucket of spiders. If it’s going to make you miserable, cause you sleepless nights in the run up to the weekend or otherwise stress you out, please don’t put yourself through it. But if you’re raring to go, click the link and get your name down. Fiction, personal stories or poetry are all welcome, though please give me an indication of which type you plan to read.
If I get more volunteers than time will allow for, I will select readers in as fair a way as possible and probably have a couple of spares lined up in case anyone can’t make it on the day. Everyone picked to read will be informed in advance so they have time to prepare. I’m really looking forward to hearing what you’ve got to share. Here’s the sign up form
Zak Jane Keir