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Open Mics - Writer's Digest column

Open Mics - Writer's Digest column



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Published by LauraNovak
My tour of the Open Mic scene in San Francisco last fall in preparation for Lit Crawl, 2010.
My tour of the Open Mic scene in San Francisco last fall in preparation for Lit Crawl, 2010.

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Published by: LauraNovak on Mar 14, 2011
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3/14/11 9:38 AMGuide to Literary Agents - How Live Readings Can Help Your WritingPage 1 of 7http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/How+Live+Readings+Can+Help+Your+Writing.aspx
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Thursday, October 21, 2010
How Live Readings Can HelpYour Writing
Posted by ChuckI am working the streets of San Francisco. Nightly, I prowl around Haight-Ashburyand North Beach, the Castro and Tenderloin, Fourth Street and Folsom. I ply mytrade with men … as well as women, transgenders, atleast one self-described Druidand the occasional mental patient. Oh,and writers, lots of wonderful, polished,professional, prolific, amateurish, awful and eager writers.My trade is my novel:
Finding Clarity: A Mom, a Dwar f and a Posh Private School inthe People’s Republic of Berkeley.
Andreading from itin a wide variety of venues toa complex and varied audience is a ball. I am having the time of my life – and that’swithout landing either an agent or a publisher yet.
Guest column by 
Laura Novak 
. Laura was atelevision news reporter before writing for 
TheNew York Times
on business, health and the arts.She is working on the Clari Drake Mystery Seriesset in Berkeley. Laura lives in the Bay Area and you can find her work on Scribd.com or reachher on Twitter . She also writes the "Medicine &Manhood" column for 
The Good Men Project Magazine
Two years ago I began transitioning from my career as a journalist by tapering off my work for
The New York Times
. I took my debut novel through several edits andbegan to explore the complicated road to publication. Social Media provided anopportunity to write for others and vastly expand my network of friends andcolleagues.
In less than a year, I have become a top female author on Scribd.com, with 43,000followers. As a result, the Scribd team invited me to read from
Finding Clarity 
at thisyear’s Lit Quake festival in San Francisco.I’d been a television news reporter back in the day. But to prepare for Lit Quake, Idecided to scour San Francisco’s “open mic” scene. I figured if performance venuesare good for struggling comics, they might just as well be a great idea for an authorwith a completed manuscript.A simple Google search turned up a well-organized Bay Area open mic calendar,which meant I had no excuse but to dive in. As with most things in life, the first 
3/14/11 9:38 AMGuide to Literary Agents - How Live Readings Can Help Your WritingPage 2 of 7http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/How+Live+Readings+Can+Help+Your+Writing.aspx
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You don't have to wait for "something to happen" in order for things to behappening with your novel. I am out there doing it, living it! And I'm broadening myexposure for my manuscript. Each time I read, I explore my own text, emphasizewords differently and take chances on intonation and pacing. I’ve absorbed silenceand learned to pause when the belly laughs were so loud and long, even I had tochuckle at my own writing.I don’t know what will happen with
Finding Clarity 
. All I know is that I love it andlove sharing it. And I am delighted that people sit quietly and give me the gift of their undivided attention when my five minutes on stage has begun.My novel is undergoing a final copy edit as I write this. But I am not on hold.
Finding Clarity 
doesn’t have to come to a bookstore near me for this journey to becomplete. I am living my life by reading my words weekly, in all sorts of glorious,wild and crazy places. For me, this is what it is to be an author. And now I believe I just heard the timer. You’ve been a great audience. Thank you so much!
Need to sharpen the beginning of your novel? Check out the great resourceHooked  , which isall about writing an excellent Chapter 1.
Want more on this subject?
Want to pen a guest column? Write me atliteraryagent@fwmedia.comConfused about formatting? Check out
Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript 
.Read aboutWhat Agents Hate: Chapter 1 Pet Peeves.Want the most complete database of agents and what genres they're looking for?Buy the
2011Guide to Literary Agents
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Dezso Sarkadi liked this
LauraNovak added this note
Well, then Joe, you just get right out there on stage next time and give it a go! The audiences are generally very kind and supportive. Thank you for reading and commenting!!
righettijoe added this note
Thanks for sharing. I've been to a few events but never actually participated. It takes a lot of courage to actually do it.
LauraNovak added this note
Thank you both. It was actually fun and quite an experience. Find some venues in your area and go for it. People are extremely kind and encouraging!
Mary Yuhas added this note
What a fablous idea, Laura! Thank you for sharing. Someone said copying is the highest compliment - so I'm giving you the best high five possible. Can't imagine standing in front of the mic though. If you're in my area sometime, I'd love to be part of your audience! Tweet!
Mary Yuhas added this note
What a great idea! I hadn't seen this before. I'm going to tweet it too. We'll all be cheering for you, Laura and I hope you'll share some of your ebook experiences w/your usual humor!
Christine Macdonald added this note
Great piece! I love your insight and writing. Just beautiful. xxoo
Steve U added this note
So exciting to read about! (ironically)

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