Monday, September 09, 2013

Audiobook Adventures: Chapter Buh

After editing thirteen That Gets My Goat marathon episodes, it was surprisingly easy to make the shift over to editing books for Audible again.  For a while.

I finished one book the other day, and need to choose a five minute excerpt to use as my audio sample for it.  I'm also on Chapter Four of "Derai," the second book in the Dumarest of Terra series, where I have a five-book contract.  I was excited the other day to be reading user comments on io9 and see the Dumarest series mentioned.  On the downside . . . I was reading user comments on an io9 article.

"Derai" has been slow-going, mostly because of my own lack of dedication.  There are so many characters, and again, not having read more than a synopsis of the book before beginning (rather than the entire book), I don't know which characters are important and which are incidental.  Hence, I gave one of the main characters one of my standard Evil British voices, only to discover that he is the good member of that family, and I have to temper that bad guy voice so as not to sound misleadingly sinister.  Sigh.

Here's a little aside, though: man, I have so many plates in the air.  I wish I had some kind of switch in the back of my head that said, "Nope, you are never going to finish that, do not start.  I mean it, you already have a huge list of projects you're in the middle of, and you have way less ambition than you think you do.  Stop beginning new projects."  But I don't.

Oh, and one other challenge on this book: it turns out that the title character is a mind-reader.  This is revealed early enough on that I realized I was going to have to differentiate between spoken lines and inner monologues.  In text, it's traditionally been conveyed simply by having the thoughts be in italics, and "the spoken phrases in quotation marks."  I have chosen to put an echo on the characters' thoughts, despite having heard that that's "corny" or "cliched" or "childish" or "unprofessional" in audiobook circles.  I have listened to many books, however, where the ear cannot differentiate between the spoken dialogue and the thoughts of characters, and I become confused, or just as often, infuriated, because it sounds as though the inspector just called his supervisor a cowardly ponce, and got away with it.

I made the decision to do the echo in "Derai" because it simply has to be understood that when Earl thinks something, and Derai responds to it, that he did not say it, but she eavesdropped into his thoughts.  I know it's possible to convey that by simply changing the tone of my voice in the narration, but I challenge any of you to do so, and be confident the listener will realize that's what you're doing.  In fact, I challenge you to go out and start doing audiobooks yourself, if you're so frigging smart. 

Whoops, I guess I went a bit astray, didn't I?  The consequence of this decision is that, now, every single character's thought will have to be echoed, because it's the precident I have set.  Again, it may be possible to only echo the "transmitted thoughts," if you will, but I am not merely the narrator, I'm the producer as well, and just like television, the producer is king.

I am close to finishing editing another short story for sale.  I prefer short stories to novels, simply because of my aversion to hard work, but I reached a sentence that was so unacceptably false in the story that I heard myself say, "Oh, fuck you!" during the narration.  It made me laugh hard enough that I stopped editing and got on here to blog about it.

It's something I've complained to Big about before.  Just like bad special effects, I have a low tolerance for Oh Fuck You moments in audiobooks.  There have been some which made me push eject and throw the disc (or cassette in my younger years) into the back seat.  Just thought I'd share that.

I've got another deadline looming, and unless I reeeeally change my ways, it's going to be the first one since I started this that I miss.  I really ought to stop typing this and go to work.  Sorry.

Rish Outfield, Actually About To Log Into Facebook

No comments: