Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
The author turns up, swans up to the platform or lectern and reads excerpts from his/her sensationally wonderful book to melange of adoring fans and yet to be convinced punters. Who then bring their books up (old or newly purchased) for signing.
And now for the whole truth.
How the heck is one to choose a passage or two passages which are representative of the book? Hmn? And mind you, they have to be really no longer than two and a half pages–because read aloud, that’s about five minutes. And few people have a longer attention span than that at a reading–unless the author had training with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts or something first and can really make it zing with drama, pathos, humour and all that good stuff.
But then, you as the author don’t want to give away too much–for the unsuspecting punters. No, you want them to have all the surprises that the other readers had, who read it without having heard any of it first.
So, pick something that’s definitive, but a non-spoiler, something with a beginning and an ending, with not too many unknown characters speaking (that’s confusing) but that is sure to engage and entrance an audience without shocking or offending (no sexism, racism, age-ism or obscenities) or in any way being objectionable to the man on the street. Not a problem, right? Okay. You try it.
Oh, and you have actually to be able to read it aloud too. Without sounding like you’re functionally illiterate.
So, Paul House and I–in expectation of today and a sequence of readings next week–spent yesterday trying to choose passages. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
I believe I have about five. Right length, don’t give too much away, the writing’s good or very good in ’em, I can indeed spit all the words out, and don’t offend. I hope.
House is still, er, deciding…
I shall report back on how many rotten tomatoes were thrown, shall I?