Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My biggest narration challenge to date: The High Priest, by C. Deskin Rink

The toughest story I've ever narrated is now live at the horror podcast Cast Macabre.

Why was it so difficult?

The language.

"The High Priest", by C. Deskin Rink is gorgeously, lyrically written but wow, were there a lot of words there that I had never said before.

I asked Barry J. Northern, the force behind Cast Macabre for some help with the pronunciations of the names and he connected me with C. Deskin Rink. I love it when I can interact with the writers of the pieces I voice, because I know all of the energy and thought that goes into writing and I want to do what I can to help bring their vision to the listeners.

Well, C. Deskin Rink had a lot of ideas about how "The High Priest" should sound. He sent me a link to another story that was read in the style he envisioned for "The High Priest", as well as a link to "Ankor Sabbat" a story of his podcast on Pseudopod that was set in the same world. I listened to both, and also went through the manuscript and looked up the pronunciations for every word I was unsure of how to say, then wrote them phonetically in the text. That took some time because there were a lot of words I was unsure of how to say!  It was the most preparation I've ever done before reading a story.

As is typical for me, I then went through a low period. It's great to have so much input from the writer, but then I worried: Can I pull it off? He obviously cares a lot about how this story should sound and what if I fall short? Also, I write in a fairly uncomplicated style. I don't typically use unusual vocabulary. Would I be able to do his writing justice, as well as make it accessible to the listener?

But when I started recording, all of those doubts went away. True the reading wasn't as smooth as it could have been. I ran out of breath a few times, and stumbled more than I usually do. "Cartilaginous" gave me some trouble, for example! But for the most part, I loved saying all of those gorgeous words. And Barry was able to edit it together so that I sound like the whole thing just flowed off my tongue!

I've always thought of myself as someone who puts story first. Both as a writer and a reader, I want the story to be captivating. The writing hasn't been as important to me. I don't have much patience with weak writing, but usually I prefer the writing to be clear and invisible so that the story can shine through. In the case of "The High Priest", however, the language used and the elaborate style in which it was written, were a thrill to read. I loved doing it. The fact that the story is also intense and awful (this is horror, you understand, so that's a compliment) just made the whole experience all the better.

"The High Priest" is a fullcast production. Abigail Hilton, author/creator of the Guild of the Cowry Catchers (you all know how much I love that story!) voiced Bethany, the protagonist, and Bob Eccles played the part of Arden, the wolfish warrior who helps her.

This story is dark; it's poetic; it was a huge challenge for me to narrate, but I'm so glad I had the opportunity to give it a voice!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

My Simple Pleasures

Long time, no blog post! I've no good excuse, just germs sweeping through the family. I've been recording and writing anyway, however, and here's some good news. There should be two DoD-related short stories that will be made available in the next few months! I'm having fun working on them, and they will answer some of the questions raised in DoD so you won't have to wait until the next novel is ready to learn more about what's happening in Trae.

But that's not why I wanted to blog today. I've been thinking about simple pleasures. I saw a discussion about them on line and got to thinking that there are so many small things in life that provide such happiness. We tend to focus so much on the big stuff, but it's important to appreciate the little things that make life beautiful. What are yours? Here are some of mine:

  • The quiet house in the morning before everyone else wakes up
  • An In-n-Out cheeseburger animal style no pickles
  • Running in the canyon
  • Sitting by a river
  • Reading a great book
  • Walking on the beach at low tide
  • Figuring out how a story fits together
  • Kitty snuggles
  • Laughing with my kids
  • Hugging my husband    
Hope you're all having a great week!

More soon!