(October 13 – 19)
I found myself with a few hours of solitude this weekend, so I made my first real attempt at recording some audio versions of my stories. I’m not a great fan of my voice, so this is not something I ever expected to be doing, but enough people have suggested that my voice is relatively listenable that I figured it was worth a shot.
It was something of a challenge to get started as I’m relatively self-conscious, even when I’m on my own. I’ve had extensive experience of reading stories to my children over the years, but I tend to trip and stumble over words quite frequently and I’ve noticed that my voice gets tired and croaky in fairly short order (basically I’m just not a fan of speaking).
I wasn’t sure how well the recording process would go but in the end it was pretty successful. I don’t know that the results are quite ready for prime time—there were a few stumbles, and I still need to stitch all the bits together—but I was able to record two complete stories without too many stops and starts. In short, the recording went better than I expected.
It’s an interesting challenge. Simply reading the story isn’t enough; some performance is required. You need to bring life—and voice—to your characters. You need to build the pacing, tension and atmosphere with your narration. In the end, you’re potentially stealing the reader’s voice and replacing it with your own, which is a pretty daunting enterprise.
Viewing highlight this week was a filmed called The Villainess (which came to my screen courtesy of Netflix). A brilliant, but inconsistent, film, it starts off with one of the most amazing action scenes I’ve seen to date (an impressive attempt to replicate a FPS action scene in movie form). This is matched by a remarkable motorbike chase, and a breathless conclusion. However, the middle sags a bit after transitioning a little too far into personal drama … but more or less makes up for it with some neat twists and turns. I think a little editing would have helped get rid of the excess weight here, but if you’re a fan of well-executed action movies you’ll want to check this one out.
While I may have stopped, started, and generally dithered with Wool, I’ve been tearing through Shift (the follow-up). I suspect this is because while I remembered Wool in relatively clear detail, all I really remember about Shift is that it added some pretty interesting background to the overall story, and had some good twists here and there.
I’ve also had one of those weeks where I’ve been listening to podcasts, and found unexpected themes running through them. Specific episodes were:
- Imaginary Worlds: Ends Of Evangelion; https://www.imaginaryworldspodcast.org/ends-of-evangelion.html
- Scriptnotes: 421 – Follow Upisode; https://johnaugust.com/2019/follow-upisode
- Our Opinions Are Correct: 39 – Monstrous Women and Women Who Make Monsters https://www.ouropinionsarecorrect.com/shownotes/2019/7/27/episode-39-rebirth-of-anti-capitalist-stories
All are worth a listen, but OOAC did a particularly great job of exploring how much of modern horror is related to the patriarchy’s fear of women (specifically, of women attaining power, or attaining the same power over men that men currently possess). It includes a particularly great discussion about the differing lenses that men and women view the world through, and how that affects what we find scary.
In Scriptnotes, which always includes an assortment of topics of interest to any writer, one discussion jumped out at me. It revolved around whether a joke in a comedy film would be undermined by showing a topless woman, and went into fascinating detail about how male and female nudity, particularly onscreen, are very, very different things.
Finally, Imaginary Worlds looked at the history of the anime series Evangelion, including some fascinating background on the fan reception. However, this episode also featured some interesting commentary about character nudity, whether it was appropriate or not, and how much influence the context of the surrounding scene has on that nudity.
While the nudity aspect, of course, won’t have a great deal of impact on my writing, the knowldge that I see the world through a white, male, heterosexual lens is often at the forefront of my mind when I write, and frequently check my writing to see if I’m presenting a characters view authentically, or if I’m simply reflecting my own.
Fingers crossed I’m successful at least some of the time.