How audiobooks are upping my writing game
Posted on February 25, 2019
by Susie Finkbeiner
I’ll admit it. I’m late to the game.
For years, friends have been talking about audiobooks, recommending that I give them a try. But stubborn old me refused. I said that they weren’t for me. I shrugged them off.
Then I got a new car.
And that car has a bluetooth thingamabobber that allows me to stream from my phone.
“Maybe I’ll try one audiobook,” I thought, installing the CloudLibrary app from my local library.
Once I started, I got hooked. I can listen to books while I drive, clean the house, exercise. It’s this nerd girl’s dream come true!
But then, after listening to my 9th audiobook this year, I realized something amazing.
Listening to audiobooks is making me a better writer.
Wanna know how?
- I’m getting more time to read: I tell people all the time that the number one way to train yourself as a writer is to read. Read. READ! Listening to books is a great way to get more training in! Plus, it sure beats whining the whole time I’m washing the dishes.
- I’m trying books I might not otherwise read: Let’s face it. Life is short and reading time is precious. While my preferred reading method is done with a good old paper and ink book, there are just so many hours of the day for that. So — I admit it — I’m picky. With audiobooks, I don’t need to be. I can try out a book for size and if it isn’t engaging me, I can return it for another. That’s the beauty of the library, friends. So, I’m stretching myself and honing my taste by reading out of the norm books. It’s like adding squats to your cardio routine.
- Voice is EVERYTHING in audiobooks: Stephen King once said (in the author’s notes in the audiobook of Sleeping Beauties) that reading out loud is “unforgiving”. If there’s a word out of place, it’s very obvious. If the voice is inauthentic, it’s glaring. If dialogue is stilted, it’s painful. As I listen, I’m quite aware of the author’s choice of rhythm, tone, and words. I can’t alliteration and clever word play. I delight in the poetry of language. And, in listening, I am more mindful of my own choices.
I’m glad that I (finally) took my friends’ advice and added audiobooks to my day. It’s a great use of my time.
Oh! And this is a massively shameless plug, but…
Did you know that the Pearl Spence books are now available for audiobook readers? A Cup of Dust and A Trail of Crumbs released recently and A Song of Home releases on March 12.
If you are an Audible member you can download them from Amazon. If you prefer a disc check them out on the Oasis site. Or you can request that your local public library make them available. In fact, that’s more helpful than you’ll ever know.
So, what audiobooks have you enjoyed? Which should I add to my list?
Yes! Amen to all of this. All those reasons are mine, too. Probably the best audiobook I’ve listened to, performance-wise, is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society just because they had a different voice actor for all the different letters that make up the book. So it was actually easier for me to get into it and keep everyone straight in the audio version than the paperback. But another standout audiobook for me was The Solace of Water, which I know you’ve read. Chris Fabry’s The Promise of Jesse Woods was excellent, too. I love that Chris narrates his own books, a skill which I do not possess. There are so many other great audiobooks out there. Right now I’m listening to Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas, because Amanda Barratt’s novel My Dearest Dietrich stirred my interest.
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Hi Susie, so glad you’re enjoying audiobooks. I would recommend “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah. It has some language in it, but he reads it himself and does an excellent job. With so many African languages, it’s neat to hear them correctly instead of trying to guess how they’re pronounced. This book really explained apartheid to me – I never really understood it before. ~Robyn
That book is definitely on my list! Thanks for the recommendation!
Susie! Do you remember me from Novelmatters? I see you have been very busy on the writing and publishing front!
I have just ‘published’ my first audiobook as a producer/narrator! I am having the best possible time creating voices for fairies, pixies and elves,(Colour Fairies Series book 9 by Maggie Jeffrey) or speaking in a French accent for the Paris romance.(Paris Mends Broken Hearts by Kaya Quinsey) Now I am learning Abyssinian and Egyptian for a non-fiction ancient text thing. (Kebra Nagast, translated by E,A. Budge)
As a producer, I am always interested in how I can improve. Your post here has given me some pointers, thank you!
See you around! I’m about to find you on Twitter!
HI! I do remember you! Oh, I miss Novel Matters SO MUCH! I’m excited to hear about all you’ve been busy doing. Such a gift to hear from you!
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