Is the act of simply “listening” to an audiobook akin to “reading”?
Just how powerful is the spoken word?
Hear what author Stephen King has to say about audiobooks and make your own judgment!
Audiobooks alla King
Novelist Stephen King is no stranger to audiobooks, in fact, he even has an audiobook archive on his website detailing all of his books that have been narrated.
Recently, King shared his thoughts about the relevance of audiobooks from a reading standpoint.
King relates, “Some…claim that listening to audiobooks isn’t reading. I couldn’t disagree more. In some ways, audio perfects reading…Audio is merciless. It exposes every bad sentence, half-baked metaphor, and lousy word choice…the spoken word is the acid test. They don’t call it storytelling for nothing.”
I think Stephen is onto something here!
The Acid Test
There is no easier or more dramatic way of testing the mettle of a book than reading it aloud. As Stephen King points out, discovering the good (and the bad) in a book is extremely easy when someone is interpreting the text, punctuation marks, segues, and so on through the application of the spoken word.
How much can professional narration do to enhance the written word?
Although a good narrator can make a mediocre book sound better, the same narrator is in a position to do much more with a truly great book, able to elevate it to even higher artistic climes using their voice.
The Temptation to Tinker
When you come across a script, a book, or a string of ad copy that needs a little TLC, it is tempting to try and resuscitate the phrasing, grammar, and or choice of words. While tempting it verily is, solicited it is not!
Your read, being the acid test, may be the catalyst for change, presenting an inkling of what can be done to improve a script suited to vocal delivery and aural consumption.
Just be sure to run these ideas by the people who hired you first — also, keep in mind that the script went through many hands (and perhaps the eagle eyes of editors) before it got to you, meaning they may not want (or implement) your suggestions.
Massaging copy is often a no-no unless someone (generally the copywriter or company you are working for) signs off on the changes. It is an uphill battle but it can be done!
What Do You Think?
How to you discern good from bad copy? Is it something in the rhythm of the read or can you feel it in your bones?
I’d love to hear from you and how your ongoing (if not daily!) acid tests have been going!
Photo of Stephen King via StephenKing.com