I’ve been in PT for months because of a peroneal tendon issue in my right foot. This has forced me to abandon my training program for this summer, which has me super bummed out. Slowly (SLOWLY) trying to ease back into things because I’m still planning on running the full marathon in November. But the low today is 74 and it’s 92% humidity (which is basically swimming at this point, I feel). Really hard to stay focused and not let discouragement get the best of me.
The problem with going to the farmers market is we always over estimate how many tomatoes we actually need. And then we eat them all and I get heartburn.
I made a kickin’ bruschetta though
Okay, I was thinking I wanted to lay this out for demonstration of how phrasing and inflection is key when it comes to podficcing. How you read a sentence is really important - how you stress and emphasize words and clauses can impact the meaning of a sentence and the mood of the exchange.
I said in my last post that I try to steer away from over characterization in dialogue, and I do. But you can’t escape the fact that you’re reading actual dialogue and it needs to have some base of inflection to help the listener distinguish it from the narrative. Sometimes how something is said is indicated in the text - for example the writer might say “she whispered” or “he shouted shouted.” You as the reader are going to have to make the call on whether you’re going to vocalize your delivery to match. Truthfully, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t, it’s really depends on the situation. Generally, I’ll raise and lower my voice for whispers and shouts…but other vocalizations, particularly sighs and laughs, I don’t. This is mainly because I’m not confident in my ability to do so. It’s something I practice and hope to master convincingly at some point. Not that the writing always calls for it, and not that I’ll use it every time it is, but it’s nice tool to have in your arsenal as a reader.
But what about where no specific direction is given? How do you tell if someone is being sarcastic or sincere? Clever? Manipulative? Whiney? That’s when it’s really important to look for other cues in the scene - mood, lighting, previous dialogue, etc. I don’t want to sound condescending, because some of this is pretty obvious (especially since many podficcers are writers themselves, and everyone a silent reader). But there are times - especially in plot heavy scenes where the dialogue is meant to be moving the action along, or in really emotional scenes where things are progressing quickly - where you will find yourself not knowing with certainty just HOW the character is feeling.
This bit isn’t a really the most solid example of that - but it is sort of a bridge moment. The characters are transitioning from talking about outside matters of the day to a much more intimate things. Is it a sudden change in mood? Or does Aziraphale’s rebuttal soften to fondness, easing the way? Here is where I as a reader have to take some leaps. With this example you can see my trial and error as I experiment with different ways to deliver this sentence, and how each reading gives a different meaning and mood to the scene.
I know I’ve spoken mainly of dialogue at this point, but this is true in narrative as well. That being said, with narrative it can be less clear and you’re less likely to have explicate cues as you would within in context of a verbal exchange. One thing I think is particularly important to remember is not to bring too much of yourself to the narrative. As silent readers we bring a wealth of our own personality and life experience to a story, and it’s easy to not realize or forget that fact when you read a loud.
For that reason, it becomes important to keep narrative moments more towards neutral, without going so far as to be flat and uninteresting. I always try to avoid any extreme expression unless it is specifically called for - one of the best examples (that I am unfortunately a little clunky with my explanation of) is when the writer comes to a conclusion in the text (think of it as an “aha!” moment).
As a reader, you might have picked up on where the writer was going before the writer actually got there (possibly through intended foreshadowing, or characterization). You might read the narrative in your head with what I think of as a “duhhh” tone. However, another reader might not have picked up on the conclusion before the writer made it. For them, it’s more of a “oh, Huh. Yeah, I can see that” moment.
If a podficcer reads it the former way, and a listener was experiencing it in the latter way, that difference would be enough to pull the listener out of the moment. And could possibly alienate a listener from the work altogether. You don’t want that, and the author certainly doesn’t. So while I do use some inflection in narrative, I try to limit it to small variations on neutral.
Hopefully makes sense and didn’t get too far off course or down a wormhole…the tl;dr is that inflection is important i dialogue and narrative, but you need to tread carefully, remember the author’s intent, and remain a neutral relayer of the story.
EDIT: Sorry for the repost. I wrote this last night when I was slightly less than sober and tumblr insisted on eating the post when I tried to edit the original. And sorry for the wall of text, the “read more” html code is making tumblr angry this morning.
irisbleufic said: hey nerd <3
asjhdakjhda you are TOO kind. WAY too kind :) You MY tumblr crush, that’s for sure!
And I really appreciate how supportive you’ve been of my podficcing. I am so excited to be doing it again and could not ask for better source material. I’ve said this before (and plan to do a post on it sometime soon), but I seriously dissect every line, every phrase, and every word of a story I’m reading. Not only does your writing stand up against such scrutiny, but I find myself realizing (pretty constantly) that there’s layers I’ve missed, subtleties that had previously gone unnoticed. It makes each reading like an easter egg hunt…I never know when I’m going to stumble upon something new.
So it probably goes without saying that I’m a fan of audiobooks and listen to a decent amount of them (although as with most things, I don’t get to listen to them as much as I’d like). Readers, much like writers, all have different styles. And like anybody else, I have preferences and opinions on them myself. The same is true with podfiction.
One thing I think about a lot is how to bring voice to the characters. I generally prefer more subtle vocalization both as a reader and as a listener. There are some people who develop strong and clear voices for various characters, and if done really well I think it works. I think it’s an extremely difficult thing to do though, and I’ve been turned off of even professionally done audiobooks because I’ve felt the character voices detracted from the story. I personally feel that a narrative story was written that way for a reason, (as opposed to, say, a scripted play) and I want to stay true to that.
However, I learned really early on in my reading life that conversations which seem perfectly clear on the page can get muddled and confusing when you take away the visual cues provided by grammar and punctuation. So how do I, as a reader, overcome that?
When reading in general (not just dialogue), I pay a lot of attention to pitch and cadence variations. I took speech and diction classes in college, do a lot of public speaking as part of my profession, and have long background in various performance based art. I strive to make all of my readings sounds rich, without sounding overdone and yet not being so reserved as to sounding flat. That’s something I will always consider a work in progress.
However, when it comes to characters, I feel I have a little more freedom to push the boundaries a bit without coming across as campy or over the top. And I let characterization give me some cues about how to vocalize. Just to reiterate, I’m not talking about coming up with accents and clear character voices like an animator or puppeteer, but more slight alterations in pitch, cadence, and delivery that will help distinguish a character without detracting from the narrative.
My third full record went well. I’m probably going to be posting a fair amount about it…turns out I wish I’d kept better notes from before. Memorializing the process a bit now will hopefully help me in the future.
All the big spikes indicate where I fucked up and need to edit. I am betting this ends up around the 1:15 mark, when all is said and done. I record sitting in my closet, because I find it gives the best sound quality and eliminates the most white noise. My apartment is not carpeted and the echo is really bad. Add two cats and a turtle tank (and before you laugh, the turtle is loud!) and it’s hard to find peace and quiet.
My old closet had shelves so I could record while standing, which is ideal. This one does not and I need to figure something out. I sat on the floor last night, which is merely concrete with a layer of carpet. I’m not as young as I once was and my back is killing me. This microphone gets the best sound if you’re close up, so I spent too long leaning forward.
about to head into my recording room (uhhh….closet) for take three
but first more beer
about to head into my recording room (uhhh….closet) for take three
In the summer of 2012, as some of you probably recall, the brilliant and determined prodigalproblemchild (threequarters on LJ and Jinjurly) embarked on the massive undertaking of creating podfic of all the major / longer stories in Crown of Thorns ‘Verse. Between 2012 and 2013, these are the ones she completed:
As of today, she’s started recording the next long one in the sequence, The Beach Botanist’s Survival Guide, about which I couldn’t be more thrilled. Please, please take the time to listen to the three completed pieces of podfic linked just above; I’ve rarely heard such excellent production values, and her choices of lead-in songs in every instance have been so influential that I’ve included them in the CoT mix on 8tracks. Please listen to everything she’s recorded and put up on Jinjurly, for that matter! It’s a rewarding endeavor.
okay well, i’ll just sit here then
the recipe says it makes 50. I’m all like “oh look, i got a dozen…” and wiping the dough off my face.
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