Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Audiobook Adventures: Chapter 26 (or Buh +1)

Part One

Nothing new to report this week. I finished my Kristine Kathryn Rusch story, and within two days, had been given another (presumably my last). I've been given a month to do it, so I oughtn't procrastinate, but since this is probably it, I'd sort of like to savor it and do it after my next novel is in.

Speaking of which, I came to the two-thirds done level of recording the next Dumarest book, but when I went to edit, I discovered that, somehow, I hadn't recorded two chapters. I guess I pressed the button, and it didn't start recording. Then, when I got to a character who hadn't appeared since the second chapter, I stopped the recording to go listen to how I did him the first time (I hadn't written it down). Well, THAT'S where the recording starts, with me going to the old files and listening.*

The chapters in this book are massive, about a half-hour long when edited. To lose two of them was pretty damning when it comes to meeting my deadline . . . which is a mere five days away. But ah well.

Part Two

In the end, I focused solely on that book, and got it finished the day before the deadline.  I worry, though, that there were two chapters where you could hear the damned crickets outside (normally, I'd say "the lovely, romantic calls of crickets," but in this one case, they be damned), and it might be too noticeable, despite my attempts to mask them.  This room gets so hot in the summer, because of all the electronics and sexual frustration, and though I often close the windows and turn off the fan when I record, on one night, I guess I forgot.

As I've mentioned, I signed up to do the first five books in the Dumarest series, and when I looked at how much time I have to do the third book, I discovered (to my horror) that the first fifteen minutes was due the same day as the finalized second book was due.  So, no rest for the wicked, I sat down and read most of the first chapter of "Toyman" by E.C. Tubb, only stopping when it was after three in the morning. 

I edited it the next day, and got it in only a day after it was due.

Oh, and let me briefly complain about something.  For some reason, Tubb's chapters are insanely long.  They are broken up in little sections, which gives you time to breathe, but each edited chapter ends up about half an hour long (which is, what, two hours work for each?), and that always makes me think I've made absolutely no progress on the book.

As it stands, I've done two recording sessions on the new book, and all I have done is the credits and the first chapter.

I complained to Big about a strange tendency in Tubb's writing that bothered me to no end in the second book, and has already continued in the first chapter of the third.  He starts his narrative after major action has already taken place, and has characters talk about it, or sums it up himself.  There was some exciting action and strong dramatic moments in "Derai" that happen in between chapters, that I would guess were due to editorial excisions, except that he does it in the OPENING of the third book.  I think I could probably do a whole post about it, because I just don't get it.  I consider myself a pretty experienced writer (whether that makes me good or not, I won't venture to guess), but I can't understand why the man would make the choices he makes, in describing the buildup to a big disaster, then cutting to its aftermath and having Earl Dumarest explain how everybody else was killed.**

I just read yesterday a screenwriting expert instructing that you want your story to begin as late as it possibly can, and that lengthy prologues or backstories are bad screenwriting.  I thought--as I always do--of STAR WARS, and how it begins with the Imperials having tracked down the Rebels, and that there would be "No escape for the Princess this time."  That certainly seems to follow that, and it made me think of my recent story "Unreleased," and how I cut out the entire first section (basically a prologue) to make it closer to the length requirement of the podcast that ran it, figuring me telling how the old man gets the bottle back was less important than what he does with it once he's got it.  I am 94% ready to put that story up for sale (I'm going to try Smashwords first on this one, then Amazon), but that the longer version of the story breaks that screenwriting rule . . . and may be weaker because of it.

I say may be.  I don't know for sure.

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK starts with the Imperials releasing probes, then cuts to the planet Hoth, where Luke and Han are already out patrolling on their tauntauns.  Luke talks to Han and is immediately attacked.  I suppose you could easily have begun with Luke, Han, and Leia in the Echo Base, and General Reikkan asking for volunteers to go out on patrols.  But they didn't.

Conversely, RETURN OF THE JEDI originally began with Luke on Tatooine, putting the finishing touches on his new lightsaber, and inserting it into Artoo's dome.  Vader, communicating via the Force, tells Luke that he a) is his son, and b) must turn to the Dark Side.  This scene was shot, edited, and even scored by John Williams before George Lucas ultimately cut it, deciding to simply show the droids on their way to see Jabba the Hutt.  Obviously, Lucas was trying to start the story as late as possible, though the screenwriter might suggest he could've cut the journey to Jabba's palace and simply started with Artoo and Threepio arriving at the big gate.  I don't know, but now I'm paranoid about my writing.

I need to just post this, because once I start talking about STAR WARS, forever will it dominate my destiny.  Consume me, it will.

The point is, E.C. Tubb has a strange habit of cutting out the expensive action sequences and focusing on the cheap conversation afterward, which is totally understandable if you're a low-budget filmmaker.  Not that he is.

And now I'm outright criticizing, which was not my intention.  The man's writing is really strong, and I do feel honored to be able to read (at least) these first five books.  And that reminds me, I really ought to get to work on that, if I'm to finish the whole book before Halloween.

Rish Outfield, Audiobook Reader

*I guess it's fortunate, in retrospect, that I stopped the recording for that, or all of the sixth chapter would've been lost, instead of just most of it.

**I remember that Rolling woman doing something similar in "Harry Potter 7," where the battle is ended, and suddenly both Lupin and Tonks lie dead, having been killed while she was describing other action.  I understand that it's Harry's story (and secondarily, Ron and Hermione's), but when interviewed, Jo Rolling stated exactly who killed Lupin and his new wife, and how they died, leading me to think it was a deliberate decision not to include it.

1 comment:

ryanlb said...