26 March, 2010
Break in Service

Well, the inevitable has happened. There will be a break between parts one and two of the weekly podcasting of The Faire Folk of Gideon: Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Not happy about it. But, oh well.

Chapters thirteen and fourteen, which are the first two chapters of part two, are actually ready to go, but that would leave me scrambling to finish chapter fifteen, which really just needs the last audio check before I deem it done. Haven't even started editing chapter sixteen. So, what? Three weeks to get that done. And, then what? How much time to work on chapter seventeen? Only a matter of time before the gap overtook me. Feeling rushed and harried the whole time. The gap looming. Break glaring down at me.

I know it doesn't really matter, but when I started this project, the one thing I really wanted to avoid was mid-part breaks in the weekly podcasting. I figured breaks between parts wouldn't be so painful because there are more-or-less natural pauses between them. The pause isn't that clear between parts one and two because I hadn't started to think of distinct parts of the story at that point in the writing. I was still fully thinking just one damn thing after another. Hadn't occurred to me that there would be a shape to the thing. It wasn't just randomly episodic. It was a book. Complete with a beginning, middle and end. The first book of several, but let us not drift off onto that tangent. At this point, I don't know when I'll get any more writing on The Faire Folk of Gideon done or how many volumes will ultimately be sustained. Probably not so many as I was thinking at the time.

So, I'm not happy about the gap. Don't know how long it will last. The original plan was to have every chapter of any given part done before beginning to podcast it, but that was based on the idea that I would spend the whole time the previous part was going up to work on the next, which hasn't actually happened. I blame being busy at work and a cough that lasted for more than a month for that. Hard to rehearse much less record when one's voice is terribly, horribly rough and scratchy.

So, I've been making deals with myself. Don't wait until all fifteen chapters of part two are done before beginning to post them. Get two-thirds of them done. Half will do. Just enough to stay ahead of the gap. You'll be weeks before the posting of part two shall begin.

So, we shall see. If the entire month of April shall pass without enough progress, I will start to feel really antsy about the delay. There is a momentum that builds with a project, and it is a very bad thing to break. There are ways to minimize the damage such as deliberately breaking at natural pauses between parts of the story, but any delay causes harm. People loose interest. People who may have been thinking about paying attention never bother. It would be even worse if breaks fell at random. Unexpectedly breaking the flow. People would loose interest simply because they would never have confidence of another chapter being ready for them.

No, I'm making the best of a bad situation. Not that any of it really matters. Being overly dramatic. Much ado about nothing, I figure, for the very simple and obvious reason that very few if any people are listening. According to my web stats, any given chapter is downloaded about eight times. Three of those are me. Leaving five. And, there is absolutely no way for me to tell if those five are in fact people. They could be bots trolling the internet. It could be one person listening five times because they don't realize they can download the damn thing to their computer.

So, at least I've got that in my favor. Nobody should very much care if there is a break.

Of course, I'm still going to post something every week. Keep the podcast updating even if there isn't a new chapter of The Faire Folk of Gideon going up. Maybe, one of the poems or a vignette. The first filler I'm thinking about using is the closing music from The Faire Folk of Gideon without the copyright notice playing over it. That should be sound good. Maybe, I'll re-post some of the Sonatinas. Somebody seems to like those. They are the most downloaded things from my website, which could just be the bots or one person over-and-over again.

Oh, well.

28 March, 2010
Why an Audiobook

Okay, I find it vaguely amusing that the first mention I finally get around to making of The Faire Folk of Gideon audiobook is that there will be a break in the presentation. It's nagged at me since the moment I started that I hadn't written about it and done my standard nobody cares explanation of whatever in the world it is that I am up to. Or anything else I've been up to, for that matter.

What can I say? Only so many hours in a day. All about picking priorities. In fact, I should be using this precious time right now to edit the audio of chapter fifteen or whichever chapter is next in line. Can't be bothered to double-check that right now.

Main thing I do when editing a chapter is downplay or eliminate the heavy breathing. Most embarrassing that is. And, actually one of the main reasons I hadn't gotten around to doing more spoken word stuff on my website. I really do tend to gasp and otherwise suck air really, really loudly while recording. Takes a long time to work my way through each audio file and do something about it.

Then, there are the mistakes. Times I realized during recording that I had done something wrong, and I would repeat a passage. So, I have to go through the audio and find where I repeated myself or otherwise duplicated a passage. Pick which is the best one, which is pretty much always the last one, and then cut out everything that redundantly doesn't work. Of course, the way I edited the first twelve chapters was that I would never remember when or where I had repeated myself. I would edit down the gasps all through a long passage only to discover that there had been a problem and I had repeated the section. Well, there went a good hour of editing wasted. Fortunately, I came to my senses around chapter thirteen and realized that I should start simply by letting the whole chapter play, find the repeated sections, edit those, and then worry about the annoyingly violent explosions of air.

Then, there are the pops and clicks. Strange audio oddities that seem to populate the recording for absolutely no discernible reason that I can understand. It's just there, screwing up the audio for whatever reason known only to its own evil little self. Deal with it. Some of these buzzes, pops and clicks can be quite bizarre, and the only way to deal with them is to replace the audio. So, I listen to the passage over and over again to try and get a sense of how I spoke it the first time. Do several takes of that passage. Try to pick the best one, and then see if it'll fit into the space of the old audio. I've been lucky with these, so far.

Chapter fourteen of all the really annoying things to happen somehow managed to pick up the wail of sirens faintly in the background. Had to re-record two whole passages to fix that one.

Of course, if you listen really carefully to a couple of the early chapters, you should be able to hear Samantha talking quite distinctly in the background.

All-in-all, not bad for a twenty dollar USB microphone and a forty dollar Canadian audio editing program, right? Okay, throw in another forty dollars for the companion multitrack mixer, which isn't entirely necessary since different audio files can be merged in the editing program, but it is just so much easier to work with a multitrack mixer.

Okay, so why in the world am I doing an audio version of one of my books? Kind of the reason I started this here journal entry, but you can all see how well I stay on topic.

First, I've always wanted to do one, and I thought that The Faire Folk of Gideon would work really well as an audiobook. If you dig through my journal archive once I finally get it converted to the new website format, you will find the last time I was experimenting with an audiobook. I was thinking about The Etymology of Fire at the time. Don't recall exactly what I wrote. Not going to bother digging back through and finding out.

Second, the day job was really rough last year. Not that anybody was particularly mean or anything. There was just a lot to do. Got to the point where Samantha would call me every day to find out how late I would be. Not if I would be late. Reached the point where it was a given. Only question was how late. Which is why there was so little activity on my website last year. Simply didn't have the time or energy to work on much of anything. And, music is really demanding in both the time and energy departments.

All of which got me thinking about what might be sustainable. I mean I didn't know how long the hard times at the day job would last. Times have morphed a bit. Hours are not so long but the stress level is up. Another level of managerial oversight has been added. Not worth talking about.

Regardless, I spent a good deal of my flopped on the cough trying to rest time wondering what I could do that was creative. I mean I do tend to get very cranky and ornery when I'm not doing something creative. Thought of two things I might be able to maintain. One was to try and write a real lightweight book. Fun. Exciting. Pulp fiction in the truest sense of the word. Something bombastic and fun. Tolkien, Dick, Bester and Smith were all essentially pulp fiction writers. Yes, you heard me. I just called The Lord of the Rings pulp fiction, and I stand by that. Just compare the style of the prose to other works. Bester, Smith and even Lovecraft. It's all pulp fiction.

So, I've been kicking around an idea. Even written about a scene and a half of it. Based on Shakespeare, if you can believe that. Or, really, the collision of Shakespeare and somebody else I'm not going to name because it will simply become too obvious what I'm up to and people will beat me to it. Of course, it's been about a year and a half since I put any thought into it so I really don't know when I'll get to it, but I hope it will be easier going than—say—the next Faire Folk of Gideon book. I do still want to write another, and I really want to be able to focus on it, which I simply cannot do given the current day job climate.

The other thing I thought I might be able to sustain given the day job was an audiobook. Doesn't really require that much energy on any given day. Rehearsing takes about twenty to thirty minutes a day. Any given chapter takes about a week of rehearsals. Recording takes about half-an-hour. Editing takes forever but that is hardly the point. I'm focused on what is sustainable day-to-day.

Didn't have to think that hard about which book to turn into an audiobook. The Faire Folk of Gideon is simply written in such a conversational style that it is perfect. I also had high hopes that the work would lend itself to a performance style to interest people. I don't keep up with the world of audiobooks, but I really hope what I'm doing is not the norm. I mean I'm not doing it to be different. The subject and text are dictating the presentation.

I alternate between being terrified that the performance is so incredibly hammy and filled with chewed scenery that nobody would ever listen and hoping it sounds okay. I actually prefer the parts that require long pauses and whispering to all of the insane screaming, which produces its own problem as I start making everything long-paused whispers. I need to vary the tone or else risk a thin line of boredom.

Not that probably anybody cares but me. But, we do what we can.

copyright © 2010 by keith d. jones – all rights reserved
home | books | music | fiction | spoken word | comics | journal | news