Hi, Maureen here.
I’m not a person who listens to audio books much. Or at all, really. I’m not against them, they’re just not my thing. But I was intrigued at this year’s New England Crime Bake when fellow mystery writer Dale Phillips gave a talk on the benefits of an author’s book also being “published” as audio.
I’ll leave the nuts and bolts to Dale, who has blogged about it on this site.
But here’s the great part for writers: Listening to the recorded chapters as the book goes to production so I can help correct errors has made me think a lot about my writing and see it in a different light. I’ve often heard writers advise that reading a work out loud during the writing process helps clarify things. I believe them. Just rarely did it. But listening to Cold Hard News has been a huge help with the writing I’m doing now.
A lot of the reminders go right to the fundamentals: It’s much easier to recognize an overused word or phrase when you keep hearing it — when you’re writing, you may pass over it without noticing. I won’t list them here, in case you didn’t notice them when you read the book, but man, they’re there.
It’s also easier to be reminded of the rhythm of sentences, and using shorter ones in conjunction with longer ones. That’s a writing technicality it’s easy to forget about as I get caught up in trying to get the story down.
Then there is chapter length. Nothing highlights the length of a chapter more than seeing its length in minutes. Most of those in Cold Hard News are in the 11 to 20 range. Then suddenly, as I was listening, there was one more than 40 minutes. Ugh. My immediate thought was “I bet that could have been two chapters.” I was right.
I look forward to hearing what audio book listeners have to say about the Cold Hard News audio version after it comes out at the end of this month. (If you want to listen to a couple minutes, go to my website, maureenmilliken.com, where I’ve created a little video to go with the audio sample that’s been provided.)
But the big benefit for me so far as it’s refocused my writing on the basics as I try to finish up No News is Bad News, the next book in the Bernie O’Dea series.
Maureen Milliken is the author of Cold Hard News. Follow her on Twitter at @mmilliken47 and like her Facebook page at Maureen Milliken mysteries. Her website it maureenmilliken.com. Sign up there for email updates.