In the first blog I mentioned four projects that I was tinkering with in some form or other. Here are some specific updates on each:
Audiobook Recordings of Devin Madson’s Two (Soon to Be Three) Novels.
This one is all about the homework. I’ve done a lot of research and prep on the technical side, learning the little things to try and get the best raw recording and to edit it to standard. While I’m not a complete novice at this sort of thing, I’ve found some handy advice out there on the internet from a number of sources, particularly on editing the finished product for the best quality for a listener.
I’ve also done some homework on the performance side of things. While I am an actor and performer there are subtle differences between the way you use your voice when acting for stage or camera, when doing voiceover work or voice acting, and when narrating an audiobook. Audiobooks sit somewhere in the middle. It’s not quite acting and it’s not quite public speaking. It’s a little of both.
Then there’s the homework on the books themselves. I read The Blood of Whisperers over two years ago now and am currently re-reading it, making notes and developing character voices. This is obviously the most crucial of all the prep work, but also the most fun. The book has three first person narrators (unusual I know, but trust me it works) and the major and supporting cast probably brings the total of unique voices up to something like twenty. It’s quite a challenge, especially the need to transition smoothly from voice to voice, but I’m hoping the preparation will pay off in the long run.
Lastly, I’m taking advantage of some shifting around we’ve been doing at home. My son is now seven months old, and while that’s still a bit young to be in his own room, we decided to shift things around and set up his room anyway. Since it’s free, I have about three or four months to exploit it as a recording room where I can leave everything ready to go at the drop of a hat. It should save a bucket of time as well as keeping the recording sessions more consistent.
I think I’ll be ready to start recording in about three weeks. I’m really looking forward to it.
Military Horror Novel Based Around Roman Legionaries
This is something I’ve been developing from a short story I did a couple of years ago. I’m still working on expanding my ideas and the scope of the world. I’ve continued to add to my notes, particularly thinking about the characters in more depth now that they’re playing on the bigger stage of a novel.
I’ve also been interested in looking at how other authors have tackled stories set in the same period. To that end I’ve been using my commute to listen to a bunch of audio books (from Simon Scarrow and Conn Iggulden) that are set in roughly the same period of Roman history as mine. While their books are more historical/military/adventure type books and mine is a military horror, immersing myself in the atmosphere of that world (or at least the two authors’ interpretations) does help keep my thinking on track. There is also the added benefit of the little bits of historical detail that you pick up on the way.
Right now the plan is to let this one gestate a little bit, but I wouldn’t mind starting some writing towards year’s end.
Like many, I have thoroughly enjoyed Welcome to Night Vale (as well as Alice Isn’t Dead, a new podcast from some of the same creative team). So a while back Devin and I began to throw around ideas for one of our own, this one in more of a space opera vein.
However we haven’t gotten too far down the track with this one, and with Devin finishing the final major edit of her third novel, it’ll be on the backburner for a while. But hey, four projects on the go is almost certainly one too many, and something had to give.
Comedy Web Series
I’ve been doing a little writing on this one in recent months, but not as much as I’d like. I’ve partly been stymied by the restriction factor again. I want to keep this down to the fewest possible number of people required to make it work, but some of the episodes I’ve been writing have been calling for a larger cast and more locations and complications than I want to try and manage at this early stage.
So, I’ve decided to use restriction to my advantage and also set myself a challenge. Two cast members only, the simplest possible version of things (even simpler given that I will play both characters). Get moving, get making and get creative. There’ll be a phase two where I try and tell bigger stories, but right now I want to be doing what I can rather than wasting time trying to manage the logistics of something bigger. I had in mind four episode “types” when I developed this idea originally. This reduced version still allows me to do three of them. I think the trade-off is worth it to have something done this year rather than next. Or never.
And the challenge? Starting Friday next week I’m going to write ten episodes in ten days applying this new plan of a minimalist approach. This is in part informed by a workshop I did at Melbourne Web Fest run by Kylie Eddy from Lean Filmmaking on the idea of…well, lean filmmaking.
The episodes I will write don’t have to be perfect. They don’t all have to be ready to shoot. They don’t have to be anything more than raw, first draft level stuff. They just need to be done. That’s the challenge. I’ll report back in a few weeks to let you know how things go.