Monday, January 09, 2012

Want to be a better writer? Listen to an audiobook.

One of my best discoveries of the last year was audiobooks.  I never really listened to audiobooks before. I've tried in the past but when I'd listen in the car I'd always end up turning the volume down and missing part of the book.

I recently rediscovered audiobooks during a week working in the costume shop and I totally love them.

I'll let you in on a secret.  I think that listening to audiobooks is making me a better writer.

I was an independent reader growing up.  I grew up with a single parent.  My mom read to us but since I was an independent reader I probably gravitated to reading on my own pretty early.
Other than going to author readings and events it has been forever since I listened to a story being read to me.

Listening to audiobooks has helped me pay more attention to pacing in my own writing.  As I'm writing I begin to wonder how this would sound being read aloud.  Is the pacing right?  Is the language fresh?  Is the writing concise?  Is there a good mix between dialog and description?

Do you listen to audiobooks?  How do they help your writing?
 

11 comments:

Annie said...

I love audiobooks, but somehow, I've gotten out of the habit of listening to them. Thanks so much for pointing out what a great and enjoyable writing tool that they can be!

Beth said...

I like audio books in the car. Currently I'm listening to two -- one with the kids and one when I'm alone. But I prefer to hear books I've read before, and yes, I like the way the structure and sound of the sentences and words get emphasized. It reminds me to read my stuff aloud when I'm struggling with a passage.

Blessy Mathew said...

Hi Carrie! I do enjoy listening to audiobooks. It allows me to actively listen to the characters voices out loud in a story. Definitely an engaging format!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That makes sense. Pacing would really come through in an audio book.

Playing by the book said...

ah audiobooks! I can't imagine life without them (and drama on the radio). We have them on all the time - in the background and tend to zone in and out of them. They literally become a bit of fabric around our lives. The kids adore them, and for us they enable us to "read" more books than we would otherwise be able to, as we can have a story on whilst we're playing.

Christine Murray said...

I just got into audiobooks this year too. I have arthritis in my hands, so it helps on the nights when they're too sore to hold a book.

I think it definitely helps with pacing. Though if the narrator is awful that can ruin fifteen dollars worth of book on me.

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

I have listened to audios and loved them, but I have the same problem when driving. I tend to daydream a while, then have to back it up. But, it does make the drive go faster. When the boys were little, I'd sometimes put one on when I was puttering in the kitchen. I'd love to read for an audio book some day.

Barbara Watson said...

I don't listen to audiobooks (because, honestly, I have no retention when things are only audio or if I listened while driving I'd get it all sorts of accidents), but I do read MANY books aloud with my kids, and it's taught me to read my own work aloud, which has improved pacing and dialogue especially.

Katy Manck, MLS said...

When my kids were young and we spent hours in the car, trekking from soccer to dance practice to Scouts, we listened to lots of books-on-tape (including Roger Zelazny's entire 10 book Amber series).

These days, I'm driving a desk and find that I can't listen to spoken word or most music while I am writing, even when just writing reviews.

A well-read audiobook is indeed a wonder as the word emphasis can really come through as we hear phrase after phrase, sentence after sentence.

(found you through MotherReader & Lee Wind's Comment Challenge)

Jennie Bailey said...

I have never listened to an audiobook. I think I'll check a few out at the library next week when I start back to work! Great suggestion.

Camille said...

I love audio books. My children and I listen to them in the car while we drive. They love it. I can see how carefully listening to them could help your writing.