So, my first audiobook reading is now available over at Audible.com. I figured I'd say a few words about it (and each subsequent release) on this blog, and maybe on my personal blog, and maybe over at the forums. I haven't decided, though, whether I should be pretty terse on this one, go into more detail on my blog, and engage in a sort of "confessional" Q&A on the forums, spilling all my frustrations with each project, and what I thought of the piece and my work on it.
Y'see, this really should be a sort of advertisement, (strongly?) encouraging fans of the Dunesteef to go over to Audible and buy the works as they appear. Except for the book I finished yesterday, I get paid only if people go there and buy them, so it does me no good to say, "Hey, stay away from my production of 'Only Angles Have Vaginas' by Veronica Tobler-Bice, as it's a terribly-written story, I half-assed my way through it, and she spells 'Angel' as "Angle.' Also, I have it on good authority that some large mammals do indeed have vaginas."
Big and I have disagreed about this in the past, and I understand his position: if you've worked on something for long hours, and it's your work out there, it's pretty counterproductive to say it's not good. My friend Merrill says it's bad pool to criticize the work you're paid to do, like when Shia Unspellablelastname called INDIANA JONES 4 "shit," but I have found it interesting, at least to me, to if not criticize, then at least critically examine, the stories we've recorded, at least for other podcasts. We did them for free, using our own time, but yeah, I can see the editor of Podrapist saying, "Oh, they didn't like the story I deigned to give them, did they? Well, see if I ever let them perform on House of Rape ever again."
There may be no correct answer, but I've found that I've learned things working on movie sets with bad directors, just as I learned what works with good directors like Sam Raimi, and as a writer, I think I still benefit from reading books and stories that don't work, just as long as I recognize WHY they don't work.
There needs to be a middle ground between a plug and bashing something, and I hope that someone out there appreciates that. I still give the best performance I can, even if I don't love the work I'm doing, and I think it's fair to say that a good actor can elevate a bad movie, or at least the scenes he's in.
So, first out of the gate is "Dead End Street," written by Rick R. Reed. The man seems to have quite a career writing a different kind of book, but this one is straightforward YA Horror, and it reminds me, most of all, of a certain lad named Outfield, who digs writing about teens going to ordinary places and encountering creepiness there.
"Dead End Street" tells the story of five childhood friends, three boys and two girls, who as teenagers decided to meet weekly in the local reputably-haunted house, telling a scary story apiece. But their visits do not occur unnoticed.
What drew me to the story, as a reader and especially as a narrator, is that each kid tells a story, and I could create a voice for each character, and tell their story in their voice. For Pete, I chose a younger version of my own voice, for Dan, I chose a scratchy arrogant drawl, for Roy, the text says his voice has not yet broken, so he got a sort of irritatingly-high child voice. The two girls were harder, since I wanted them to sound different from one another. I did my typical female love interest voice for Erin, who's described as really attractive, and tried a snarkier girl voice for Marlene, who is the smart one, and pretty much ends up the main character of the story, so I hope she doesn't annoy anyone.
I ran my choices by Rick before starting, unsure how much back and forth should be between writer and reader, but the results probably vary depending on the writer. There have been a couple who are really hands-on and want every little thing read according to how it is in their heads, and there are a couple who have never said a word to me throughout the whole process.
The recording was fairly uneventful, and though the sound quality is not as clean as the stuff I'd do today was, it's a far cry from the first short stories that I edited without using headphones, where you can hear every single breath and lip chlorque.
It's not a long book (just over four hours), but I got to do at least eight voices, and it's a good representative of what I do. Check it out, if you feel like it, and there are more where that came from.
Rish Outfield, Book Guy
P.S. No, chlorque is not a word, but is there a word for the smacking/slurping sound that a mouth makes when it opens? Of course, if that mouth is Emily Van Camp's I imagine the word is different than when, say, the Rancor's or my mouth makes it.