Sunday, 29 January 2012

To Read or Not To Read?

I always remember hearing Alan Bennett saying that there's a difference between writing and being a writer. Being a writer is fun, he says and involves eating cake at WI meetings, being smiled at and talking about yourself. Writing is the hard bit.

For me, events and school visits are one of the best bits about 'being a writer.' So I'm always trying to keep my talks fresh and interesting. One of the things that I do find problematic is the reading. It's not my short-sightedness or any difficulty sounding out letters. At an event recently, I declared to the audience that I didn't do readings so much because that was their job. And I meant it. I think.

Recently, I went to a reading by a famous author and faithfully bought his book. When I came to the passage he read, I found it spoiled my enjoyment of that particular passage and of course, it was a good one. He wouldn't have chosen to read it aloud otherwise.


My stories have their roots in traditional songs and folk tales. More and more, I find myself telling the stories that inspired me. And before I get a telling-off from my publisher, I do talk about my books too!

So do you like to hear an author read at an event?

8 comments:

Mark Jones said...

Seems like it could ruin the story the way watching the film of a favourite book can.

Could you read a short short story involving the characters from the book?

Michele Helene said...

Ooh, that's an interesting point. I love being read to and I love reading other people's books out loud. Guess I'll just have to wait and see :-)

Jon M said...

Good idea, Mark and funnily enough...

Sean said...

I think I actually enjoy hearing more about all the stuff that surrounds the book, things like where the ideas come from or how you actually go about writing it. Even just related anecodotes are good. Some authors are better than others at this, so it all depends. I'm not against hearing a reading but like you say I'm probably going to be reading the book anyway and maybe its best to keep it unknown until then? At Scarefest I enjoyed hearing about the book you had as a youngster (Devils and Demons?) and that you told the story from. Also I think you read the unused introduction to the Bone Hill Curse? All that kind of stuff is great.

Jon M said...

Thanks Sean, I like the idea or periferal material and things of interest. It kind of fills in the picture, I think.

Ame said...

I understand where you're coming from and many of the books I have read have been spoiled by films. I especially hate it when I watch a film based on a book and they get something wrong. I always end up shouting at the TV what's supposed to happen instead and annoying everyone!

Oh, and I guess I should introduce myself! Hi, I'm Amethyst! I'm a big fan of your novels and I also live in Wirral! I visited your website mainly because you are visiting my school on the 10th February but also because I enjoy reading and writing - and looking at what other writers' thoughts are like really puts things into perspective. I think I'm rambling a bit now so I'm going to stop typing. But anyway, it was nice to read your blog and...see you on February 10th, I guess! :)

Jon M said...

Hi Ame, great to meet you. Make sure you say hello a week on Friday!

Ame said...

I will - in fact, I will be one of the three or four interviewing you! Oh and a small word of warning - bring a pen because lots of people would like an autograph and for you to sign their copies of Mortlock and The Demon Collecter (including myself!)