By Suzanne D Williams
I’ve always heard the advice, “Read what you’ve written aloud,’ but truthfully, never followed through on it. I mean, why, when it’s all right here in my ol’ noggin? Then I decided to put my stories on audiobook.
I had no idea how true the statement was until the day I searched for the first narrator. You see, the teenage character of that book has been locked in my head for months now. I know him, know what he’d say, how he’d react, and I know her, his love interest. She’s bubbly and girly and a bit bold at times. Yet when the wrong person read the part, I knew it instantly.
Him? I can’t use that guy. He sounds nothing like the character and could never play the part. Because that’s what it comes down to, an actor playing the part. That set me to thinking. When I write, who do I really want to speak? Whose voice do I hear?
A book I read years ago is currently being made into a cable television series. I found it fascinating to hear the author talk about who should or shouldn’t be the main character. Then when the actor was chosen, she glowed about how perfect he was. I get that now. I get even better how I should consider that in the future. I mean, what if every book I wrote was read by the same voice? How boring would that be? No, each one should be individual. Unique.
The narrator for my book LOVE & REDEMPTION is so perfect, I can’t believe it. She does an amazing Irish lilt for the main character, Michael O’Fallen, She can even sing parts and speak a bit of Gaelic. Yet hand that book to someone else and it loses something – some quality that only her having the right tone and inflection gives it.
Which brings me to my next thought. Hearing the book read to me by a voice that’s not my own shows me the true power of words. Over and over again, I’ve asked myself, “Did I really write that?” Because what I put on the page, the black and white vision of the text, changes entirely in audio. It becomes real, and frankly, I wasn’t prepared.
I think writers often live in a bubble. It’s us and our computer screen or a notebook and a pen, lost for the majority of the day in our thoughts. But then we have to step outside our comfort zones and live in the public. Because people are going to judge our work. It will move outside of our heads and into the atmosphere where others will form an opinion and often, speak it.
Never did I feel this more than having my own books read to me. That the narrator could become exactly what’s been living in my head is a priceless lesson, and one I will not forget. It’s also one that will cause me to think harder in the future about the words I put on the page. After all, words are living pictures that alter time and space and take us places we otherwise would never have been, and that is truly powerful. More than I could ever have imagined.
Suzanne D. Williams is a native Floridian, wife, mother, photographer, and writer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors.
“Loved this Italian!” “Realistic, unique and super romantic!” “Too often the women are whimpy and whiny…NOT in this story.” “This One’s a Nail-biter!” “This book will keep you on the edge of your seat for sure.” “The plot was riveting and kept me guessing from page to page and had me almost shaking with fear.”” So Much Fun ….”
Gio twisted his shoulders, jerking himself upright, and hooked a foot around the door frame. One last try. There had to be a way out. “Sergeant,” he shouted. “Stay strong. Don’t give up.”
Don’t give up. God, help me. God. He would answer. Somewhere there was a purpose in this. But his doubts rose higher each time Sergeant screamed his name.
Giovanni Cavatelli simply wants to survive this one hour balloon flight. Never mind the girl he’s flying is antagonistic, overbearing, and stubborn. Never mind it’s her birthday. So they don’t get along. He can survive one hour.
But when bad weather sends them crashing into the rural mountainside, one hour turns into three days and a dangerous game with a group of anti-government activists out to destroy them both.
Will her courage and skills be enough to save them? Or will something as simple as true love prove far stronger?