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The Art of a Reading

It sounds as though it should be simple, but getting a reading right isn't quite so straightforward.

I did an event in Falmouth recently, when the organisers asked - just before it began, and with impressive trepidation - are you going to do a reading?

Of course I am, I replied - it's a required part of a performance for an author, is it not?

But the poor organisers had suffered a bad experience with a fellow writer, who had apparently mumbled their way through a reading which went on for...

... almost half an hour.

You can imagine the state of the audience (what remained of it) by the end. 

Last week I did an event (Hello to the lovey Ottery Ladies Probus, and thanks for looking after me so well) where I set myself a challenge and cut down my reading to what I thought was the minimum possible length - about a page and a half, or no more than three or four minutes.

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An old question

I've just reached the half way point of the new novel, which lead to an old question bubbling up in the Hall mind (with an adaptation for writers) -

Is the book half completed, or is there half still to do?

I try to be optimistic about life - despite the journalistic day job of darkness and despair - so I'm thinking of it as an achievement.

Well done for getting there, I tell myself - without dwelling too much on the long journey ahead.

But! That aside, the good news is that I'm loving it.

Looking back on the other novels I've written, I've come to realise it's often only at about the half way stage that you really get a true sense of the shape of the book, the plot and the characters, and whether it's all working out.

So, it's a fair point to judge - was all the planning, time and effort worth it? Is the thing actually going the way you'd hoped?

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Extreme Writing

I had an encounter this week, which I occasionally... and here I have to pause to choose the right word...

I won't say enjoy because it has a big negative, and I won't say suffer as it has its upside too. So how about the more neutral... experience.

(Blimey, a digression right at the start of one of my musings - that might be a record, even for me.)

Anyway, the reason for writing about my experience it is to raise the question of whether other writers have known similar such.

The thing in question is this - it's been one hell of a week, mainly because of my day job, which saw me chasing around reporting on the extreme weather my beloved Devon has been suffering -

Simon Hall Dawlish Seawall.jpg

(This is me in Dawlish, talking about the breach of the sea wall - thanks to Tony Christie for sending it over, and my thoughts go with all the people who've suffered so badly in the storms.)

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