My words, someone else’s mouth

My seven-year-old son is a little young to read Game as Ned, much to his frustration. But, with a long car trip imminent, I agreed to let him listen to the audio version of the book with me – thinking I could skip over any of the more confronting parts of the story.

On the road, with my wife and daughter asleep, I put the first CD into the car stereo. Within moments my words were trickling from an actor’s mouth. I had goose-bumps.

When you write a novel you can expect to read it, rewrite it, reread it and so on, many, many times. By the time you’re done, you’ll probably know some of the passages off by heart. Indeed, one friend told me that “when you reach the stage you can’t see the words on the paper any more, it’s time to hand it over to someone else”. I know that sounds odd, but when you have read the same words umpteen times, your brain stops seeing them properly. There might be a blatant spelling error but you’re no longer capable of seeing it.

Anyway, hearing the first chapter of the Game as Ned audio book felt like a stranger was speaking inside my skull. By the second and third chapters I’d switched to listening to the actor, and how he skillfully interpreted the different characters. Then a really odd transition occurred.

Somehow, the editor switch was flicked on in my brain. I started listening to sentences and paragraphs and thinking “that line jarred” or “I’ve overused that word” or “I could have written that better”. It was another reminder that reading your writing aloud is one of the best ways to differentiate between passages that work and those that need more polish. After onscreen and then paper edits, a verbal read through is vital.

if you’re interested in the GAN audio book, please contact Louis Braille Audio.

One thought on “My words, someone else’s mouth”

  1. Hey, you’ve been keeping this quiet, you shy/sly thing! Particularly so given I know I’ve made you read *my* blog before (oh, ok, then, I’ll include a link: http://www.webchild.com.au/index.php/Table/Blogs/The-Home-Stretch/)

    Lovely stuff Tim- and I know just what you mean about the inner editor. I recently heard an essay of mine read aloud by someone else and while I had been quite pleased with it before then I wasn’t so thrilleda fterwards. I read all my work aloud, often as i type- but sometimes you need the new voice, just as you need a new set of eyes when you’ve finished your piece.

    Good luck to GAN in the Ned Kelly awards! I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

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