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I have spent the last two days trying, off and on, to record myself reading, because I had this totally stupid idea that I would make an .mp3 of it and put it on my web-site.

What I have discovered--or rediscovered as the case may be--is that I cannot stand the sound of my recorded voice. I've tried reading first chapters and the beginnings of short stories, and all I can say is I have profound gratitude for the people who like my writing--or me--enough to sit through an hour of me reading out loud.

And now, writing looks like it will be so much less of a disaster, and holding that thought, I'm going to write.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 30th, 2010 05:58 am (UTC)
I don't like my own voice either. Could it just be because you don't sound the same in your ears as you do on a recording?

I was thinking of maybe doing a You Tube reading sometime and posting that, to make it technically easier than working with mp3s. I wonder what it would be like to watch someone reading out of their own book, though...maybe not :-)
Sep. 30th, 2010 06:09 am (UTC)
I am saved from that because I don't have a reasonable camera -- but I'm not sure it would be better. I drive myself nuts in video footage (that other people have taken) because when I watch it, I realize I never stand still. I speak with my hands; I look like I'm flailing.

And yes--I sound much more nasal and much thinner-voiced in a recording than I think I sound normally.
Sep. 30th, 2010 06:14 am (UTC)
Any possibility you need a better microphone?

Another possibility is that you need to use what singing teachers would call your "chest" voice rather than your "head" voice when you're reading. That would require some practice but you might like the results.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 1st, 2010 06:12 am (UTC)
I like doing readings; it's one of the things I really enjoy.

Which is why I thought trying to do the reading for an mp3 wouldn't be difficult. The problem, as you've pointed in out in sentence two, is that I actually can't stand the way my voice sounds when I playback to check things like volume.

I always, always think of myself as very loud. But, unfortunately, this is not, in a strictly volume sense, true.

And then when I hear myself read a paragraph, I delete it. I think I've gotten two pages max in all the attempts.
Sep. 30th, 2010 08:58 am (UTC)
If my wife has called the house and left a voicemail, she will practically run from the room if she hears herself over the playback. I honestly have no problems at all listening to my own voice, but boy, does she.

Oct. 1st, 2010 06:04 am (UTC)
omg, I used to do this! or I'd just hit delete, since if it was me leaving the message and I was in the same room, it meant the message was no longer necessary.
Michael Victorine
Sep. 30th, 2010 09:55 am (UTC)
Two things. First, I spent an entire weekend following you around and listening to the sound of your voice and had absolutely no problem with it. Second, and vastly more important, I just finished Cast in Moonlight and upon closing the book commented (aloud) to myself, "That was phenomenal!" I thought I would share. (But I really should learn not to start anything you've written that close to when I'm *supposed* to be going to bed. ::tired::)
Oct. 1st, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
(But I really should learn not to start anything you've written that close to when I'm *supposed* to be going to bed. ::tired::)

This is why I don't start a book when it's late. I am a "just one more chapter" reader, and unfortunately, "just one more chapter" is like "just one more potato chip" in this house -- but books usually last longer than a bag of potato chips.

And! I'm glad you liked it, because as usual I was fretting and wondering if people who already knew the basic events (not the crime, but the rest of the elements) wouldn't find it less interesting.
Sep. 30th, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)
Agree with the commenter that said you might want to consult a voice instructor to learn about using your 'chest' voice. Learning proper breathing technique will make a HUGE difference in how your voice sounds. To get a rough idea, record yourself saying some random sentences like your children's full names and birth dates or something like that. Do this standing up, using your normal posture, breathing style, and speaking style. Then, lie down flat on the floor. Put a hardback book or a sneaker or something on your diaphragm, between your bellybutton and the bottom of your ribs. When you breathe, you should be able to see (in your peripheral vision) that the shoe/book is rising and sinking with each deep breath. Now re-record whatever you said in the first try, from this lying-on-the-floor-with-something-on-your-stomach pose. Compare the recordings.

Your other option is to do a fan read-along. :-) Break up a chapter into one or two page segments, offer them to your readers on the Yahoo list to read and convert to mp3s, then put up a page with the links to everyone's mp3 files.
Sep. 30th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
I think everyone hates their voice... I even refuse to record podcasts!!
Sep. 30th, 2010 01:51 pm (UTC)
Welcome to the world of filkers! I hate my voice, but recording and listening does help me see what needs fixing most at any point in time. I am finding that proper breathing techniques helps my speaking voice, not just my singing. You might want to look into that, as you have many more years of doing readings!
Sep. 30th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC)
I hate my recorded voice, I sound exactly like a cousin of mine that I have never got along with and I always want to rush through any scenes that include me. I would worry that this was what I really sound like to others but then my father's recorded voice always sounds much older then his actual age.
Sep. 30th, 2010 02:50 pm (UTC)
This is why I've always thought the writer's advice of reading your work out loud and listening to it on playback to try to find writing tics and things is nuts. How can people stand listening to themselves for long enough to get any notes worth taking out of the exercise? Yecch.

(I think your reading voice is just fine, by the way, but I understand hatred for hearing yourself recorded.)
Sep. 30th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
Howdy! Thanks very much for the friend-add. I look forward to reading your LJ. Cheers!
Oct. 1st, 2010 06:09 am (UTC)
I stumbled across earlier posts via janni, and then read a bunch. I also read the post about friend vs. fan in the outer nets, and agreed with pretty much everything you said and decided I would not like to miss more of it than I already have :)
Oct. 1st, 2010 01:24 pm (UTC)
Heh. I'm not usually so provoking. Or, at least, I hope not!

Sep. 30th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)
What about just select names then? ;) A pronunciation guide, as it were. I'm terrible with names and would looove to know how the author thinks they should be pronounced. ;)
Sep. 30th, 2010 08:52 pm (UTC)
I actually do like your voice, though I admit I haven't heard the recording that has you bothered. Maybe it's just a bad recording.
Oct. 1st, 2010 06:08 am (UTC)
Or, you know, a dozen bad recordings...

And then, after ten bad recordings, I'm completely frozen and stiff when I try to read--and I already have to slow down when I do because, well, I talk very quickly.

I'm going to try it again in a few days.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )