Writing: Auditory reading

Over Christmas time I re-listened to Going Postal and Making Money (Terry Pratchett). One of the reasons I love the audiobooks for Pratchett is his play on words. Pratchett doesn’t just use the English language. Pratchett abuses it in the best of ways, and his reader does a brilliant job capturing that.

I also recently re-read Ready Player One and because I have listened to the audio book, there were parts I “heard” in Wil Wheaton’s voice. His tone, pronunciations, etc. I think a good reader does that, becomes the character’s voice and sticks with it.

There are other books where the reader was not of such high importance. The only reason I know who reads Sanderson’s The Way of Kings series is because they read Wheel of Time and they are the only way I got through WOT was Kate and Michael’s reading it to me.

I am listening to a book now called The Diviners and enjoying it. But there have been a few times the dialogue has been very difficult to follow. There will be two or three characters in a conversation and the author doesn’t always label the lines of dialogue. You know what I mean:

“I’m hungry,” Person A said.
“So go make a sandwhich,” Person B snipped.
“Oh, make me one too,” Person C chimed in.
“Oh put a sock in it!”

Um….. that last line? Person A or Person B? In context I can sometimes figure it out. And it usually is apparent based on what they say and the differences in personality. But not always. And because I’m listening on my commute, the extra brain cycle it takes sometimes causes a jarring sensation that isn’t entirely pleasant.

It almost makes me want to read some of my stuff into a microphone and then listen to it. See if I do the good kind of auditory reading or if I causing jarring moments by trying too much to “show don’t tell.” I’ve read my work aloud before for editing grammar and other things – but this idea of reading aloud to confirm the pacing and tone is a new idea for me.

My writing is so slow these days already I don’t think I could add this editing step right now (I blame the baby, he’s a needy little sucker). Hell, I’m not really editing right now, just trying to write a few hundred words a day is my current challenge. But someday. Someday I think I will try this.

Are there audiobooks you found unusually compelling as audio instead of text? Anything you would recommend I give a listen to?