Wrestling Naked With an Audiobook.

Wrestling with an audiobook

Well, it is now official. I am a Director for the National Writers group in Canada called Canadian Authors. I was elected to this position a few days ago, Saturday, June 18th to be exact. What does that mean? Likely, the current board didn’t do their homework or the national group doesn’t mind that a Canadian author writes mostly Naturist Fiction and blogs about naturist life. With that news now said, it is time to move onto something more interesting, my wrestling with transcribing my first naturist novel into an audiobook.

So far, I have recorded four of the thirty-two chapters of the story, since June 12th. At this rate, I should finish in another two months. But that is much too optimistic as I just found out when listening to chapter four which had been recorded yesterday. Problem #1 – the recording volume level somehow changed which means that I have to re-record the chapter. Problem #2 – character voices. This is the first chapter where I have multiple voices in conversation, including two women. The male voices are okay, however according to my wife, the women’s voices don’t work so well. This means I have a lot of wrestling practice ahead of me before I can re-record the chapter.

Why does it have to be so complicated?

I expected glitches along the way. That’s why I am allowing myself another four months to attempt finishing this project. I realistically have another two months after that target to finish. Come the New Year, I will be once again in Mexico for three months and audio recording will be impossible for those months because of “noise.” My place in Mexico has roosters active nearby, new construction happening in the neighbourhood, and all the hustle and bustle one would expect in a surfers’ haven.

Now back to wrestling with the audiobook – Voices. This will be my biggest obstacle. I have only my voice to work with while trying to have various voices come alive in the telling of the story. The characters to consider as major are: Rene ♂, Mark ♂, Frieda ♁, Fred ♂, Myriam ♁, Sid ♂, Gabe ♂, Asha ♁, and Karl ♂. Now, to make things more complicated, there are potential accents to consider with Mark being Italian, Frieda being Norwegian, Fred and Gabe being American, Myriam being Croatian, Karl being German-Swiss, and Sid and Asha being East Indian. There are others with small speaking parts from time to time, however, I am not worried about them.

Audacity

Have I bitten off more than I can chew? The first three chapters tell me and a few others that my voice “works” for an audiobook, so there is that on the positive side of the equation. The technology in my possession is good enough for the task. The software I am using, Audacity is considered to be the most used program for audiobook production [and it’s free!]. There is a learning curve that is a bit of a challenge as I am finding out. I am wrestling with it and will likely find more and more issues on my part as I go along.

I am currently trying to record full chapters in one take. I should be learning to record a chapter in parts and blend the parts together as I am finding out. One stupid mistake, such as blending two words into one word [yes it has happened a few times] currently means starting the chapter over again hoping to avoid the error during the next take. Twenty-something takes later, the chapter is deemed good enough [Is it ever good enough?] and I begin preparing for the next chapter. It’s enough to make a grown man cry.

So why do I continue to work on this project? That’s the easiest question, my daughters love to listen to audiobooks. A second answer is that as I learn the skills needed, I will finally be able to record the stories I write for my grandchildren. For those, I want perfection. I tell them stories when at their homes, usually bedtime stories that I invent. The stories will become a gift that captures my voice for them, and perhaps the children that they may one day have. Now that says it all.

9 thoughts on “Wrestling Naked With an Audiobook.”

  1. Robert, having produced at least a half dozen podcasts over the years I have many tips and best practices that could help you with your audiobook project and would be more than willing to be a resource for you. Please feel free to reply or email me if interested! Evan (at) WNRL (dot) org. (This is not spam, I am a legitimate naturist and fan of your writing)

    1. I will most definitely tap into your expertise, Evan. Thanks. I will contact you via email.

      1. One piece of software which has changed the game for me and which is worth looking into is Descript. This makes the audio editing process as simple as editing a text document. It might be able to replace audacity and make the process much quicker for you. I recommend checking out descript (dot) com (slash) podcasting for some basic info on how it works.

      2. One piece of software which has changed the game for me and which is worth looking into is Descript. This makes the audio editing process as simple as editing a text document. It might be able to replace audacity and make the process much quicker for you. I recommend checking out descript (dot) com (slash) podcasting for some basic info on how it works.

  2. How do you record your reading? On tape, or directly into your computer?
    And how do you edit?
    I have tried this myself, recording directly into the computer using Audacity (a free program), but I have given up for now, as I make a lot of reading mistakes and then the editing takes much longer than I like.

    1. I use audacity for the same reason, and I record directly onto the computer. To be honest, I do many, many takes of the same chapter and stop only when the result is basically error free. I am making the assumption that when it comes time to edit each chapter, there will be a lot less work in store for me. I read and reread until I “know” what I am going to say next. It also helps with the use of vocal expression, including pauses for effect.

      1. Good luck with your efforts, Robert.
        I’ve used Audacity to record ‘podcast’-like stories for my girlfriend.
        My trick was to read until I made a mistake, stop, go to a new track and pick up from start of the mistake-sentence. Audacity makes it easy to chop off the wrong bits and move the next track to the right spot.

        For the voices; it might help to record the speech of each voice in 1 go (write all their text in a document and read that out in the proper voice, and replace the ‘regular’ voice with those bits). That is how I would do it.

        Audacity, Samsom Meteor mic and a pop-filter are my tools.

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