The sound of my voice (on reading aloud)

March 1st, 2015Posted by Nancy




I just finished the rather long process of recording an audio version of Cold Hillside as a gift to a friend.

I’m not a bad reader, but it was definitely a challenge.  First of all, I had to actually listen to a few audio books.  I found that interesting but time-consuming – I could have read the books in half the time it took to listen to them.  It quickly became apparent there was no way that I could do voices beyond the most simple of characterizations, so everyone in my version sounds basically the same.  It also became apparent that with 148,000 words to read, abridging it beyond the occasional elimination of a “said” was not in the cards.

Then there was the technical part of the process.  I’m very bad at dealing with technology and so I had to find the simplest possible program to use.  Fortunately, my husband is very good with technology and he found me one called Voice Record Pro, which would work on our IPad.  It was so intuitive that even a techno-peasant like me could figure out how to record and edit the files.

So with the technical part of the problem solved, it was on to the reading itself.  I soon realized that I could not edit out every single stumble, so I restricted my fixes to more egregious errors.  Some of the chapters had as many as five sections that I had to edit and stitch together to form the final file.  Despite my attempts to maintain a relatively consistent volume, it did vary somewhat, as I recording a chapter at a time over several months.

The hardest thing was reading the prose itself.  Every clumsy sentence and every repetitive word is glaringly apparent, which is why reading your work aloud is a useful part of the editorial process.  I’d done that for portions of  the book but not all of it.  Fortunately, due the wonders of e-books, I can work with the publisher to correct the few typos that survived the proofing process and reword a particularly infelicitous sentence or two.

The recorded version is by no means professional quality but it worked for what I wanted it to do.

Next time, I’m going to read the whole damned thing out loud before I submit it, though.



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