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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reading Your Work Out Loud



For someone who is always singing, humming, and making announcements over the loudspeaker at the Day Job, I actually kind of dislike hearing my voice on audio. I've been told in the past by several writing teachers that one of the most helpful things you can do with a paper, thesis, or story, is to read it out loud and play it back. It helps you find all of the run-ons, and awkwardly phrased bits that work in your head, but don't out loud.

A while ago I bought an old school tape recorder to read back stuff I had to memorize. And I never really used it. The tape was awkward to run back and replay. Hearing my groggy voice as I woke up in the middle of the night with ideas was even worse. Not to mention the microphone was terrible.

A good friend of mine introduced me to Audacity, a free audio recorder. I like free. I like free a lot.

First off, you can't help but record something totally ridiculous. It becomes your own personal karaoke machine. It's a bunch of fun just to play with, but I knew it might come in handy for writing.

One of the things many of my critique group members had pointed out in The Novel that's Eating My Brain is that sometimes the tone of voice changes, or the main character doesn't sound like himself (as it's written in 1st person, this is a problem).

I decided to read out loud a couple of sections in the Brain Eating Novel and I knew exactly what they were talking about. The longer I read, the less self conscious I became, and ignored the fact that I sound like a California valley girl and my characters are decidedly not. Suddenly, the errors in tone I struggled with were glaringly obvious.  I went on to a couple of short stories, and I found that one was funnier read out loud, and another was way more melodramatic (but in a fun kind of way).

The only thing is that unless you download another bit to the program, you can only save your files in Audacity's own extension (.aud, I believe) rather than as something more useful like an mp3. You can mess with the vocal track until you sound like Daffy Duck, or you can layer tracks to have multiple voices.

I have yet to figure out if there's a way to upload your tracks to a blog or website, though I'm sure it's possible.

Let me know what you think of reading out loud, and give me your thoughts on the program!

1 Comments:

At April 12, 2012 at 11:25 PM , Blogger Carmen said...

Oh Audacity, you are now my bitch!

 

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