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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Lit Live: Open Mic

If you live close to Farnham (Surrey) then why not pop along to this event on 9 March (7.30pm start) ...
One of the organisers is Melanie Whipman - you can contact her if you would like to read at the event.
Melanie has kindly come along today to share some advice if you fancy reading at this or any other Open Mic.

Ten minute slots, to include an introduction, so three poems or about 1000 words of prose as a maximum.
(Work out your own WPM (words per minute) speed. But 1500 words is generally about ten minutes.)
Don’t forget the old (somewhat sexist) adage: ‘A speech is like a woman’s skirt: it needs to be long enough to cover the subject matter but short enough to hold the audience’s attention.’  
Avoid too much dialogue – unless you have a flair for drama and can differentiate your characters. If there is an extended area of dialogue you can’t avoid, then you may need to add more speech tags. What’s obvious on the written page, might not be so clear when read aloud.
Don’t overdo the profanities…
You’re here to entertain your audience. So avoid dark, harrowing themes. Remember there’s a massive difference between ‘poignant’ and ‘depressing’.
Practice – with cotton wool in your ears. It works, honest!

Melanie Whipman is a PhD student and an Associate Lecturer at the University of Chichester. Her prose and poetry has been broadcast on Radio 4 and published in various anthologies and magazines. Her short story collection, Llama Sutra, will be published by Ink Tears Press later this year. You can find her at www.melaniewhipman.com


  1. The cottonwool tip is an interesting one: presumably so you can get your volume right? One day I shall pluck up the courage to perform at one of these events - but not just yet.

    1. I've not heard the cotton wool tip before so I may try this! All I can say is reading your work gets a little easier each time, but it's not for everyone. Best wishes, Julia, if you do have a go.

  2. I'd not come across the adage about the skirt! Will remember that. And Julia, I am running a course on voice skills for reading aloud at the Finchley Literary Festival (north London) in May!!!

    1. Lindsay, that sounds like something I should sign up for.