Last week, I took part in the first-ever Teaser Thursday for #romanceclass. Teaser Thursdays are for writers who want passages from their works-in-progress performed by live readers to diagnose strengths and weaknesses in their writing. For this session, five writers submitted excerpts to be read by theater actors Fred Lo and Gab Pangilinan before a live audience at Cafe Publico in Greenhills.
I was one of the writers who submitted an excerpt to be read; in my case, it was a scene in Nine Years Away that was supposed to represent a pivotal moment between my main character and love interest. I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest; there had been a live reading of my work before, so I thought I could handle it. Besides, I knew there was going to be comments from the audience as well, so I decided that I was going to play it cool.
Boy, was I wrong. *cue “This is What You Came For”*
My excerpt was the first one to be read among the five passages. As soon as Gab started reading the narration, my attention went to their interpretation of my words. The audience listened along with me, but I was especially harsh on myself because I had to pick apart my own work based on how it was being read.
But there was something special about hearing all of this being said out loud, especially when you’ve got actual actors performing the scene before you. I started thinking about the things that aren’t being said, both in external and inner dialogue. There was body language, non-verbal cues, places where I could’ve written more and parts where I could’ve said less. And I got to think about my manuscript in a different way.
Still, all the emotional preparation in the world didn’t stop this exchange from happening.
Fred: “Where’s Stella?”
Me (out loud): “OMG FRED PLEASE DON’T KILL ME PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE”
Way to be professional, Stells.
When it came to the actual post-reading Q&A session with the audience, I was still kind of jittery (I must’ve babbled about comparing Fred to my LI), but I took note of all of the comments and found them all helpful. Did I think that everyone hated it? Yes. Did I take it personally? I almost did. And yet, I understood that everyone wanted to help, and they wouldn’t be giving any comments if they didn’t want my writing to improve. And I got a lot of good ideas for this specific scene, which I also realized would change the course of the story if I played my cards right.
That said, there were a lot of good stories that got read that night as well. (Waiting on your books, Ana and Chris!) And it was great to be in the #romanceclass environment again, feeling all the feels that came our way. I really missed this, and while I may not be able to show up all the time, I’m glad that I’m part of this community either way.
The next Teaser Thursday on the #romanceclass schedule is on January 18 at Cafe Publico, featuring an all-new batch of writers and live readers. I suggest being part of the audience first to absorb all the feels 🙂