Thursday, December 05, 2013

Audiobook Adventures: Part 30

I have finished my recording of "Kalin," the fourth Dumarest of Terra book.  Once again, I was unable or unwilling to sit down and record the whole darn thing in a couple of sittings.  Doing these readings takes a lot of out of me, which makes me wonder what it would be like to be a professional narrator, having to get through a Stephen King or John Grisham book in a studio environment, with tons of technicians standing by, doing it as a full-time job.  I imagine I'd long for these ACX days, when I have a month or so to get even short novels done.

I've done three short stories in the past month or so, and been offered another.  I declined it, struggling as I was with my "Kalin" deadline.  But the author of that story seemed to want me to do it, and sent me another offer, with the deadline extended a couple of weeks.  I accepted that one, and in absolute honesty, I completely forgot about it until I started typing this right now.  Sadly, I've now got two days before the first chapter deadline, and I haven't even downloaded the story yet.  Or finished "Kalin," which needs to be my priority.

I mentioned before the accent I chose for a major character, and how I struggled with it.  As I've been editing, I've either gotten better with the voice, or I've gotten used to it, for it doesn't grate on me like it did.

I have found that nothing is quite so sleep-inducing as editing my audiobook recordings.  Sometimes I can be sitting for five to ten minutes and find myself drowsing off.  If I get paid for each of these gigs, it's for the editing, not for the readings, which are usually a joy to do.

That's difficult, but worse is when I start to fall asleep while RECORDING the book.  That happened to me once in May or so, when I was narrating . . . wow, I cannot remember that name of that book.  Already, either my mind is going or I'm doing too darn many of these.  I was downstairs, recording on the couch (I mistakenly thought the sound would be better in the little room I use as a workshop, and I could plug a microphone directly into my brother's laptop), when my head started to sag.  I'd awaken, continue, doze, then try to rouse myself and keep reading to the end of the chapter at least.

This was repeated in similar fashion on one chapter of "Kalin," and it's not until the editing process that I realize just how asleep I had fallen.  Looooong spaces appear between sentences, and then between words, and then the words themselves become mumbles. 

Luckily, I caught myself on this one and said, "Man, I'm too tired to keep going.  I'm gonna stop."  On the other book, whatever it was, I had no choice but to edit around the sleepy bits, since . . . either it was too difficult to match my voice in recordings made days apart, or I was too lazy to go downstairs and record those lines again.  Maybe I'm not the world's best audiobook narrator after all.

So, what else?

In "Kalin," there were, after all was said and done, many named characters that didn't show up again.  I had a scene where there were three men on a hunting trip, and I gave them all different voices to differentiate them, including giving one a Hispanic accent.  A couple of chapters later, I discovered that all three men were brothers, and that the odd man with the accent shouldn't have one.  But I had already edited that chapter, and had absolutely no desire to do the thing over again.

So, I just decided that it was possible for one brother to be adopted, or a half-brother, or, hell, I don't know, have been brought up somewhere else, and have a different accent from his other two brothers.  As the character reappeared, again and again, I kept thinking, "Dammit, this character with this accent again.  What should I do?"  But I had made my choice, and I stuck with it.  I do worry, though, that someone listening will be bothered by that.  I hope not, but as long as it's not the publisher, I will continue to live with my mistake.

But that brings us to the weirdest part of the book, the part that I still don't know what to do about, even though the deadline is looming, and at the time of this writing (which I'm doing instead of editing, of course), is minutes away.  It's all about accents again.

The main female character has an accent, from the very first chapter.  I had read an overview of the book, trying to avoid the kinds of mistakes I made with the Hispanic accent mentioned above.  In it, it was explained that Kalin is not who she claims to be, exactly, but is actually someone else, sort of body-switched.  The girl Kalin used to be is on her world, very ill, and--

Oh man.  This is way too convoluted to write about here.  I'm gonna have to do an entire blog post to do it justice.  Sigh.

Rish Outfield, Audiobeast

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