Is the popularity of audiobooks changing the way you write?

Posted on | October 2, 2012

Does awareness of the audiobook’s popularity change the way you write?

I was reading my own work aloud, as I’m given to doing when proofreading, as it helps locate mistakes, and as I did so I realized that I was adding in prefixed “He said,” and “She said,” statements, in order to make it clear who was speaking to anyone who might be listening.

I was recasting my book as an audible product, rather than a read one. I tend not to use “saids” much, preferring instead to use beats– the characters do something, for example, like gesture, move, or express– and sometimes nothing at all but alternating lines of dialog. I’m doing that less these days. Is anyone else experiencing this? Or is it just because I’m one of the weirdoes who proofs by reading aloud, and hopefully with drama?


2 Responses to “Is the popularity of audiobooks changing the way you write?”

  1. Shyhoof
    October 2nd, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

    Interesting! My “reading” these days is exclusively audiobooks. I rather like the way the dialog works without the “he said, she said” – the narrator will disambiguate the conversation by using different voices. This really depends on the writing style, I guess – some writers capture some very natural, well paced dialog and this pacing would be interrupted with “saids” in it.

    Wil Wheaton is an example of someone who can make spoken dialog pop. He’s not the best reader – sometimes he reads prose too quickly – but he shines at reading dialog, even though he’s not great at voices.

  2. Falbert
    October 5th, 2012 @ 7:06 am

    I can’t say that audiobooks have changed the way I write. I often read my work aloud, trying to read what is written, not what I want it to read, so that I can check for awkward constructions. Rarely do I make changes that aren’t simple grammar or spelling problems. On the other hand, though, I rarely listen to an audiobook – maybe one every five years. I’d prefer to hear what’s going on around me, and talk to people. And audiobooks are so often abridged, when I would prefer to read the book in full.

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