Wolfgang Baur (the_monkey_king) wrote,
Wolfgang Baur

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What to Read

I've been asked to read a chapter from the Damn Book at an upcoming event. I've done lots of speaking for business, for games, and even on stage, so I'm not too worried about the actual mechanics of performance (slow down, project, eye contact, etc). I am a little puzzled as to what sort of material works for a reading and what doesn't.

I've got a variety of chapter types to choose from:
  • a solid street fight,
  • a flashback to a strange robbery (with a bit much exposition),
  • one with both clever magic and danger,
  • a strong plot twist that puts a character in a pickle (but doesn't resolve until later),
  • a harsh negotiation and getaway,
  • a quiet bit of a confrontation between a sorcerer and his apprentice,
  • a humorous joining of lovers,
  • a very creepy monster scene (which is also a complete spoiler).
If you have done public readings from one of your novels, what should I look for in a "reading chapter"? What has worked for you? What bombed every time?

Yes, I know a lot will depend on the audience, but it's a genre-friendly crowd, and I'm not exactly expecting it to be SRO. Does humor work better than a plot twist or action? Does the chapter have to resolve at least one conflict, or just be a fun ride while it lasts? How much word count is appropriate for a 30-minute reading?

Any insight from the voice of experience would be appreciated.
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