I've written some blogs about ANXIETY and READING OUT LOUD and OVERCOMING the anxiety that comes with reading my work or sharing my work in any way, shape, or form. Something I haven't covered (because it was something I hadn't experienced yet) is having your work read aloud by someone else.
If you haven't done it. Try it.
At PNWA they had two panels:
1) Query Letter and Synopsis Bootcamp--Agents and Editors went through and read either your query or your synopsis out loud. It was terrifying. Mind numbingly terrifying. The set up was like that of America's Got Talent, you get the three X's and the reader stops reading.
They read mine, mine was voted against (meaning they didn't even read all of it because it was SO bad), and then from what they read, they tore it apart. Thankfully, this was all anonymous. But hearing what I write and say in my head was an eye opening experience. I scurried up after the panel was over and got my paper, folded it up and hid it. (I reworked it hardcore last night...I was taking notes on everything everyone said.)
Right after this was:
2) First Page Feedback--Agents went through your first page and told you pretty much that they didn't like it. I heard a million people get fed to the wolves, and then they read mine. All the way through. I turned red, tried to hide the fact that what they were reading was mine. But...the longer they read, the more I saw my girl through the my guy's eyes, and I loved her, and him.
The agents guessed that the narrator was a guy, that he loved her. The panelists said they LOVED my first line. They pointed out faults that I tried to work on when submitting to the editors and agents who asked for pages. This was an awesome experience. What I wrote came across on the page. It worked! (Though I still had more work to do, I was stoked!)
The panels opened my eyes though, as to how other people read my work. I've never had someone sit in front of me and read my words aloud (I know I turned red when they came across each of my pieces, thankfully no one looked at me. I think we were all terrified). I think from now on, if people have time, I may ask friends to read my work aloud so I can go through and say "Yea, actually, that line sucks."
I guess this is just another step in overcoming anxiety and being brave.