Risk & Reward & Risk Again…

On New Year’s Day I attended a “writer’s salon.” It was my first and it was inspiring and terrifying. I read the opening pages of my novel-in-progress out loud to a group of strangers (the only one I knew was the hostess) and they seemed to like it. Their questions were insightful and their warm response encouraged me to go on with the draft.

Writing fiction doesn’t scare me, but sharing it does. I was completely and utterly terrified and didn’t really relax until I’d read my contribution. Later, as the others read opening scenes of plays, a brilliant & hilariously funny short story, beautiful and clever poems and more, I was very, very glad I’d gone first because if I’d heard their contributions I might have bolted out the door before I’d read mine.

These were really smart people, writing really smart things!

I felt like the lone “genre” writer in a room of literary authors. Is there a difference? I’m not entirely sure, but there’s a fear there, a haunting, itchy feeling that sometimes undermines my efforts. I have to avoid telling myself “it’s just a dragon fantasy” or “only a mystery” or “just a shaggy dog story” and nothing important.

The novel is a mystery novel — not a mystery. There’s a subtle and, somehow, tremendous difference. As I work my way through the first of what is likely to be many drafts, I’ll continue to read both high and low brow books. I’ll stake my claim in both camps. Risk, reward and risk again. I like them both.

How about you?



  1. Karen

    I can’t speak for all of us, but I know I was just as nervous as you were, Candy! I guess we writers are used to being “behind the scenes,” as it were. It was interesting to me to hear such different types of work, different approaches to our art, and different presentations. I’m glad you were there!

    • Candy Korman

      I’m glad you invited me — and I’m glad I didn’t faint dead away after reading. LOL…

    • Candy Korman

      With the time difference, I’m sure mine were heard as a strange noise in the night in your hood.

  2. Good to hear your took the plunge and read in public. I find that when I have to regularly speak or read in front of people, I do okay (I’ll never be a natural at it). But when I haven’t been up in front of people for awhile, it’s a whole different ball game. I guess it’s a momentum thing. Who knows, maybe someday you might make a podcast of yourself reading.

    • Candy Korman

      Back in 2012, I read at the semi-annual Poe event at the Poe Room in the NYU Law School. I was scared then, but this was so much more so. Although it was a much smaller group, the people on New Year’s Day were a very discerning audience. Terrifying!

      You’re right about doing it more often… practice may not make perfect, but it takes the edge off.

  3. Can’t imagine reading my work aloud to a roomful of canny writers. Bravo for having the courage to face those demons [inner fears, not authors!].lol