The same phenomenon applies to writing. When I write dialogue (or narration, but frequently narration sounds like me unless it's first person narration) I can hear the voices, inflections, pauses, verbal tics, the whole ball of wax. That's how rhythms and cadences sound authentic. Because I can hear them. When I'm really rolling, I can hear them BEFORE I write the words, and I merely record what I hear.
Anyway, all that is prelude to a very enriching, exciting, and just plain fun encounter I had with the folks over at Sage and Savant, a rather fascinating website that features podcasts and other matters sundry and sublime. One of the things they do over there is review books and generate audio excerpts. I was fortunate enough to be their January feature.
The excerpt (which I selected from early in the novel) done as an audio book, with high production values and crisp sound. What I expected was to hear a sonorous voice reading the words--a nonthreatening, avuncular presence just speaking.
I was wrong.
They produced a very high-quality sort of radio drama, with three different voice actors (or at least two, if one of the actors was incredibly adept at changing his voice) and some special audio effects to make the excerpt come to life in ways I would never have imagined.
The excerpt has three characters--the two main ones (gruff asteroid miner Collier South and his cheery and faithful computer companion, Sancho) and a secondary one (a corporate mining consortium captain and Collier's ex-lover, Isa). The voice actor injected a slight growl into Collier's voice, which I thought matched him perfectly. I especially got a kick out of how he elongated the word "shit" to wonderful effect.
Isa's voice was a bit higher and brighter and, well, prettier than I envisioned Isa, but on the other hand, I appreciated this new take on her. At different points in the excerpt, she had to convey smugness, concern, and tenderness, and she did so extremely well. At one point, she says "We're tracking you!" with such a great sense of exasperated force I laughed at the moment.
The voice actor (either the same one that was used for Collier or a different person) did something different for Sancho. There was a sort of nerdy enthusiasm in the computer voice that I initially rejected. I remember thinking, "that's not how I hear Sancho!" when the voice came on, but soon, I realized something very odd.
I was wrong.
The voice actor was right. This was Sancho's voice. Nerdy, a bit high-pitched, chipper...the sound of a faithful companion to my gruff Collier, with just a hint of a nutty gold rush prospector thrown in. It was perfect. I now can't hear my incorrect version of Sancho anymore. I hear this one instead.
Anyway, the site also has some interview questions and some of my pretentious and portentious answers, so if you want a cure for insomnia, head on over and read my views on life, the universe, and everything.
Here are the Sage and Savant people--I can't exit this post without giving you a look at them. Thanks guys!
Be seeing you!