It was a terrifying experience. And an EXTREMELY long one, since none of the 33 other readers honored the 4 minute time limit. I mean seriously people, 10 minutes is just self indulgent and RUDE! Even if it's brilliant, it's still super tacky to go on for so long.
Anywho, I had some awesome supporters in the crowd who were in it for the long haul, despite my repeated urgings that we should all just bounce. Of course my name was drawn last, LAST! Of course! The upside to this was that as everyone blathered on, I was looking for any possible word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph that could be cut. I really trimmed some fat off of what I thought was already a lean chapter.
I don't know exactly what reaction I was looking for from the flask-swilling, glazed-over crowd, but the reading did reignite my fear that my first chapter is not flashy enough. As a reader I like to get a picture of the world I'm entering, I don't need to be thrown right into the action, but I worry that this is what editors and agents are looking for. I'm going to have to spend some more time thinking about this, for sure.
All in all, I am really glad I did the reading and I appreciate my friends pushing me to do it. I always learn something about my writing when I hear it out loud.