Saturday, July 13, 2013

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING TOTALLY NEW...

Has it already been a week since I posted last? Guess time flies when you're wrangling words. I've gotten 45,000+ words into a new story, but that isn't the real "totally new".

Recently I did something I'd never envisioned doing: narrating my own story for a podcast. (Find it at Dark Dreams.) Although I do read stories aloud as part of the revision process, and I'm well aware that authors often read their own work at book signings and so on, it never occurred to me that I might do so for a podcast. When I've submitted to them before, it hasn't ever crossed my mind to inquire as to whether authors could read their own stories. But this particular podcast answers the question in their submission guidelines, which is what caused me to consider it.

The story is first person POV, so obviously my considering wouldn't have gotten very far if it were a male character, or at least a male with an unmistakably masculine voice. And due to my southern roots being more than apparent in my speech, any decidedly non-southern character would also be out. While I didn't write the story in all-out southern style, it wasn't at all outside the realm that the character could be from that region, so that also didn't bring my considering to a screeching halt.

And although the character's age isn't specifically stated, I envision her as mid-twenties, it's obvious that she's an adult, but not of advanced age, so no issues with it being necessary to sound like a child or an especially elderly adult.

With those obvious roadblocks out of the way, I asked myself: So what's stopping you from giving it a shot? And away we went, venturing into brand spanking new territory.


During my drive, I picked up a few rules of the road:

-- It's more difficult than I would've thought to read aloud for even a few minutes straight without making what would be considered mistakes for an audio recording. If you're reading aloud as part of the revision process or reading your child a bedtime story, for instance, no one cares if you cough, clear your throat, become tongue-tied and trip over a word. It required quite a few takes to avoid doing any of those things.

-- Maintaining an appropriate pace also isn't as easy as I would've imagined. I found myself wanting to rush so I could end a paragraph and be able to take a breath. Of course you do breathe throughout the process or you'd turn blue and eventually die if the story were long enough, but, at least in my experience, I could only take a full breath at the end of a paragraph; sentence endings just didn't allow enough time. So adjusting my breathing to carry me through between breaks was a necessity.

-- Volume stabilization can be downright strange. All of the sudden, for no apparent reason (such as the character making some exclamation), I found myself practically yelling at the start of a new paragraph, or even a sentence, when my voice had been moderate before. Maybe this wouldn't be a problem for everyone, or even most people, and I'm just some weirdo who randomly starts yelling while I'm talking. I'd think someone would've mentioned that by now, but maybe everyone's just been trying to be nice, wanting to avoid putting me on the weird random yelling spot.

-- Despite all of the above, I enjoyed doing it, and wouldn't mind doing it again. While there's nothing at all wrong with having your work read by someone else--among other things, that has its own upside just in the fact that someone else wants to read it, that they think enough of it to do so--doing it myself has the upside of gaining a new feather in my creative cap, the experience of doing it at all and being able to say Hey, that's me!

So for all the writers out there who've never considered it, if you have opportunity and inclination to try, maybe you might end up enjoying it, too.   

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