I was delighted to hear from the wonderful folks at FlashBack Fiction that they were going to publish one of my flash pieces on their website. And horrified when they suggested I tape an audio version to sit with the text. I truly hate hearing the sound of my own voice: that's what writing it down is for!
But the editor was so nice about it that I thought I'd better give it a shot. And despite the massive cringe-factor, I'm glad I did, not just because people are being very supportive about my efforts on Twitter, but because it was genuinely a learning experience and one that might help my writing in the future.
You see, although I've long subscribed to the idea that you should read what you've written aloud, to yourself, to see if it's properly readable, with the right sort of rhythm and tone, that's just reading it to yourself, not projecting it to others as any kind of performance. And when I started to do the latter, besides having my own flashbacks to horrible, red-faced work presentations I'd rather had stayed buried deep in my unconscious, I realised that reading it out like this presents a whole new challenge.
It's as though you're overlaying another dimension of meaning on the text. You have to think about the tone not just of the whole piece but of every single sentence - is that one confident, is that one sly? And then of course you start seeing where maybe the text shouldn't have left it all up to the reader's interpretation, where perhaps you needed to make the intended tone more obvious on the page.
I'm just a beginner. I haven't got my head even halfway around what it all means, but I have learned this: it has the potential to be such a valuable exercise that I'm going to do it from now on, for myself, and not just with finished stories but with early drafts. I can always delete the files straight afterwards.
So thank you, FlashBack Fiction. And for the record (yes, I'm cringing) here it is: Kom-bat.
I've been writing for as long as I can remember (I think my first letter was a P). I got a degree writing about other people's writing and ever since then I've earned a living writing commercially, one way or another. But I never stopped writing and refining my own stuff. I just didn't do anything with it, until now.