Yesterday one of my co-workers suggested that I narrate the audio version of my book. (I mentioned how I don’t have one out yet because it’d probably run me $2,500 or so to pay for a good narrator and I’m too selfish to go the free revenue share route.)
My immediate reaction was no, because it’s challenging to get the right quality. And it takes time. I recorded a short story I have under another pen name about two years ago and have yet to finalize editing on it so that it can actually get published. Recording it was fine, but going back in and getting rid of any random background noise is the challenge, and it’s a new skillset to master on top of all the others.
But there’s another reason I’d hesitate to record a 90,000-word novel. And that’s because I’m really more of a reader than a speak. I’m actually fairly good at talking in public, so it’s not a shyness issue, it’s a pronunciation issue.
See, I know lots of words, but most of the fancy words I know I learned through reading not speaking. Which means that my personal pronunciation of those words is probably very, very different from what the dictionary says it should be.
I remember when I was younger that I would read the word facade, but I never connected it to the same word I’d heard people say because my interior pronunciation was so different from the real world version. (Think fa-kade vs fa-sade, although I’m sure a dictionary would write that differently.) Took me about five years to realize they were the same word…
It’s rarely an issue. Honestly, how many times do you really use oeuvre in normal conversation? Or bon mot? But some of those words do creep their way into my writing. And I’d hate to have some listener out there happily listening to my story and then cracking up with uncontrollable laughter when I mispronounced patois.
(Random story time. I used to go to New York often for business. One night I wanted to order room service. There was a pasta on the menu called farfalle. Not pronounced far-fall as it turns out. I asked for it and heard this dead silence on the other end of the line, so I knew I’d pronounced it wrong and the guy was just trying his hardest not to lose it. I asked him how it was really pronounced, laughed when he pronounced it for me, and then told him I was also about to butcher the name of the glass of wine I wanted to order with it. *shrug* Perfection really is over-rated.)
I know there’s a variety of pronunciations in the world. Just have a New Zealander say the word six three times really fast and you’ll see what I mean. But, really, the world does not need to be subjected to my creative interpretations of words I’ve really only ever read or written.