Friday, December 2, 2011

THE AUTHOR'S VOICE--KISSING YOUR SISTER


The phrase “the author’s voice” is often used in litcrit. It is an abstract concept, not lacking in validity or usefulness. “The author’s voice” as the subject of this musing, describes the literal voice of the author not the author’s literary voice.

Since my last blog entry a week ago, I have been involved in a project to record my written words as podcasts and audiobooks. Some time ago, I built a 100-dollar studio, which, for all of its cheapness, is totally acoustically dead. I bought a USB microphone for a hundred and a half and it is a magical device indeed—totally accurate and marvelously versatile. Combined with some studio-grade headphones I have had for years and my own truly sexy and expressive voice running my output through Garage Band on the Mac, I thought I had the project licked.

Weeeeeellll… no… Not exactly licked. The first book I am attempting to record has three main character voices and the narrator voice and six minor characters. It seems I have to keep them all straight in my mind or risk confusing the listener. “Is it the narrator speaking now or the Max character?” Sometimes they sound too much alike. Why do my female characters sound like transvestites and not real women?  Why do some of my men sound Southern and some not? Am I overdoing or under doing my black characters’ speech characteristics?

Throw in some coughs, swallows, snorts and pops and despite my wondrous voice and perfect recording set-up, the thing sounds amateurish. Combine that with the problem of my not yet being able to play GarageBand like an organ—the intuitive way I play Photoshop and Word—and I am stuck recording 5 minutes for every finished minute I am going to be able to send off to the pro sound editors who will polish and cut the work for podcasting.

Learning new skills at a certain age is… well… sort of like kissing your sister.

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