June is Audiobook Month. The Audio Publishers Association (APA) will be doing lots of promotion this month of audiobooks through social media like Facebook,Twitter, and YouTube with the help of famous authors like Deepak Chopra, Judy Blume, and Sue Grafton. Many people find audiobooks a great substitute to reading a physical book, especially when commuting to and from work or travelling.
Personally, I find that my comprehension of any material is much lower if I listen to someone read it to me than if I see the printed words myself. I’ve never actually tried to listen to an audiobook, but I can’t imagine that it would be much different than having someone read a piece of a news article to me. I just can’t seem to grasp the full content without seeing the text myself. Perhaps the type imprints itself and imparts its meaning more directly to my conscious thought than sounds coming through my auditory system can. I’m interested in others’ experiences with audiobooks or having someone read anything to you. Perhaps it could be related to the right brain/left brain differences?
That said, I recently read an article in The Writer magazine (“Writing out loud” by Randall Silvis, May 2011) about listening to your own work in draft form. The article points out that “Reading is an aural experience. …When we read, we hear the words.” I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. When I read, I can hear characters’ voices in my head. I can hear the poetry in particularly well-written prose. We’ve all read works where the words have their own lilt, their own music in your head.
In order to achieve this music in their own work, Silvis and others recommend that writers either have someone read their draft back them, or record themselves reading the draft and then play it back. This allows the author to note any awkward phrases or stumbling blocks in their phrasing, as well as dialogue that doesn’t ring true.
So in the spirit of Audiobook Month, why don’t you try creating an audiobook of your draft, even if it’s just for your own editing use?