darkemeralds: Photo of a microphone with caption Read Me a Story. (Podfic)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
Who here likes audiobooks? Can I ask you some questions?

What's important to you in a reader/narrator/actor--particularly in fiction? Have you ever figuratively thrown an audiobook across the room because some particular thing about the reading bugged the crap out of you?

For example, do you value voice quality above all? Can't stand certain types of voices? Would listen to Alan Rickman reading the phone book?

Or is vivid characterization most important? Do you like really dramatic character readings? Or are subtle variations enough for you to keep track of the story?

How much do you care about authentic dialect, accents, and accurate representation of, say, foreign words in a text? 

What about male versus female voices? Have you ever felt that an audiobook would have been improved by an actor of a different vocal gender? 

And pacing: do you use the playback speed control on your audiobook app if someone is too slow? Too rushed?

Here's why I'm asking: I'm thinking seriously of hiring a voice actor to create an audiobook of Restraint. I know what I like, but in the long process of workshopping the novel I've learned that my taste is pretty specific, maybe even alienating to people who might like my work if I opened it out a bit more.

I can't please everyone, of course, but if I'm gonna shell out for this production, I'd like to get a sense of your taste, too, and try to meet it.

(no subject)

13/7/17 19:30 (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] legionseagle
There needs to be a certain timbre in the voice: Robert Powell is perfect, as is Alan Rickman. It's not gendered; women like Harriet Walter and Emma Thompson are equally good. Contralto and tenor ranges; vocal variation, authority and not too much acting.

A flavour of accents and dialect, but not playacting or too much drama. A good pace.

(no subject)

13/7/17 20:22 (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] legionseagle
I think if you choose an accent which is not a natural one for the story - so you have Mark Twain read by Stephen Fry, say - you've got to have a feel for how that apparent mismatch is going to come over, and a point to it. So it hasn't got to default to "This is culture; therefore the person reading it has to have [specific qualities of class and privilege] in their voice" but more "This accent reading these words will add another dimension" (like someone with a pronounced Yorkshire accent reading Ruth's declaration to Naomi, from the KJV, for example: Ruth stands in tears amid the alien corn, and that slight "non-Biblical" wording adds that dimension.)

Someone did a great podcast of one of my Sherlock stories and she was either Australian or New Zealand and somehow that accent worked perfectly, because it gave a sort of detachment, a not-acted quality which added that kind of shadow.

(no subject)

13/7/17 19:56 (UTC)
cathexys: dark sphinx (default icon) (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] cathexys
I listen to tons of audiobooks and I quit the ones that do too much playacting or accents. (Example, I thought about getting Naomi Novik's Uprooted and didn't after listening to a sample.)

I prefer female voices if it's a first person female narrative but don't mind either for everything else.

For me clarity and pacing are really the most important thing. Often authors don't do a good job, so I tend to skip those unless they're unusually good. As for pacing...I do listen to a lot of books on 1.25, but that's a personal preference. Usually I'd rather have a book too slow than too fast.

Your narrative's in the UK, right? I personally don't care, but I think some folks would prefer a British accent...

Good luck!!!

(no subject)

13/7/17 21:44 (UTC)
grrlpup: yellow rose in sunlight (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] grrlpup
My audiobook listening is exclusively fiction, and mostly YA novels.

With children's books especially, the dealbreaker is an Overly Bright And Interesting inflection that makes me feel that the narrator thinks I'm a bit dim, or that is trying to sell the book too much.

I don't have a discriminating ear for accents but I love to hear them. It can diminish my enjoyment if a British narrator makes American characters sound like weird cowboys, but I wouldn't quit a book over that unless it's a big portion of the narration. Overdone funny voices for characters to differentiate them annoy me, but sometimes I stick with it and become sort of fond of the narrator's efforts eventually.

There are books that feel girl-centric or woman-centric for which I would find a male narrator an odd choice. And I think I notice whether the narrator's gender matches the author's and/or protagonist's, when selecting audiobooks. I might also prefer female narrators in general because that's a voice that will be in my head for ten hours and there's Too Much Man already in much of my world. But gender considerations don't last past the first few minutes, and are overcome pretty easily by individual narrators I love.

(no subject)

13/7/17 22:34 (UTC)
andeincascade: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] andeincascade
Even worse than the phone book, I own the audiobook of Alan Rickman reading Thomas Hardy's Return of the Native, the only way I could ever endure that book. I have audiobooks for long drives but I can't use this one on the road - AR's voice is too soothing.

totally OT

14/7/17 02:11 (UTC)
cathexys: dark sphinx (default icon) (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] cathexys
I love Hardy, but I had to LOL at that comment!!!

(Incidentally, I've always loved the 9th doctor because I'd just seen Eccleston as Jude the Obscure and that unimaginable sorrow of one just worked perfectly for the other...also, when I try to explain to my students naturalism I always use that moment when they find the children....)

I've recently spent a lot of time falling asleep to the Aaronovitch narrator. I have some podficcers too who are perfect for going to sleep (and I mean that in the best way possible because I always go to sleep with audio :)

Another audio-book reader

14/7/17 22:56 (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Hands open print book with iPad in hollowed-out recto (Alt format reader)
Posted by [personal profile] jesse_the_k
I popped in to support your "it's a book, not a staged reading!" position. Too much character in the reading is excruciating: I read books so I get to determine who I care about.

I greatly prefer female narrators -- I think they're easier to hear. But I'm willing to listen to David Oyelowo read John LeCarre (outstanding!)

I have thrown audio books back in the library slot for pronunciation errors, though. In a book about libraries, the narrator said "lie-berry" five times and I Was Done. A director should have caught this, but I guess audio-book directors are also getting canned a lot.

p.p.s. I was browsing your tags to see whether your work would have inventive linguistic challenges (without conclusive answer) and I discovered your OATCAKES recipe. I'm also GF, and was searching one out! Are you still enjoying it?

(no subject)

20/7/17 04:15 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] thishobbitslife
I would listen to Alan Rickman no matter what.

That being said, I really enjoy Campbell Scott: he can do women without making it all false and high-pitched. There's something about the way he changes tone that makes it obvious it's a woman, but a real woman, not a caricature of one.

Also, some energy to it. Some readers are dry as hell (tends to be the author-read ones for some reason, unless it's Gaiman); others have just the right...'I'm a voice actor for an animated film' aspect to it, but without being over the top. Again, Campbell does this just right.

Aside...I'm glad to 'see' you!

(no subject)

20/7/17 04:20 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] thishobbitslife
This is the first audiobook I listened to that he narrated: https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Time-and-Again-Audiobook/B002UZL4SU?qid=1500524311&sr=2-15

Won me over. I didn't even realize it was a man doing a woman's voice. He's that good.


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