Thoughts on narrating and mistakes

Narrating audio books is such an odd thing. There are times when I can’t get through a sentence. I mean, really, there was a sentence today that it probably took five takes to get through and even then, it is going to be stitched together. I followed that by recording for eleven minutes flawlessly. That means, I went for six pages with no stumbles, not mis-pronunciations, no hesitations, no missed emotional beats, no mis-attribution of voice parts, or any other hiccups. And then later, I had another sentence that I just could not say. Could Not.

Sometimes, this is a bit of particularly tricky text, things like “supremacist’s street,” or “she said, succinctly.”  Sometimes it is an emotionally intense character that needs to be read fast to work, which makes me stumble.  Sometimes, the tricky word is after a linebreak and catches me off-guard. Sometimes it is a foreign language and I have to fight to make it sound natural.

And sometimes, it is just fatigue as I get tired then begin to second-guess myself with words that I know how to say. Is it OHpalescent or AHpalecent? And then, after I get that sorted, I start thinking about the fact that I goofed earlier, which takes my head out of the book and I stumble again. Rinse and Repeat.

I have a director and and engineer who are spotting for errors as I read. When the book is finished, it will all sound like that eleven minute run today.

It is easy, when screwing up, to get irritated with myself even though I know that this happens to every narrator. The thing to keep in my head is that mistakes happen and as long as I am patient, I will get through whatever sentence is killing me. In fact, I have to cut myself some slack because getting irritated with myself will only make me tense and make it worse.

This is something that I wish I could apply to the rest of my life. That moment of irritation is just that — it’s a moment. The longer I dwell on it, the longer it lasts.

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