I got the completed audio file of Catskinner’s Book from the voice actor late on Friday night and I listened to it yesterday–it’s about six and a half hours.
Being an A/V technogeek, I downloaded it into a flash drive and connected that to my Blu-Ray player so that I could listen through the speakers I have hooked up to my TV, which are the best speakers I own.
Now, to give credit where it is due, Brandon McKernan is an awesome performer. He doesn’t just read the book, he acts it out. He gives the characters their own voices and plays them off each other in the dialogue. Plus he researched the proper pronunciation of “allyl isothiocyanate”–how cool is that?
However, I also found myself really getting into the story for the first time in a long time. I have the work ethic of an Egyptian slave driver. I tend to feel guilty if I’m just having fun, I have to be doing something productive and useful all the time. But I wasn’t just “listening” to the audiobook, I was “proofing” it, so I was able to relax a little bit.
And, you know, parts of it weren’t half-bad. There are some funny bits, and some exciting bits, and some oddly touching bits. There’s a scene towards the end where my main character thinks that another character has died, and it really moved me. I cried. (And I knew how it was going to turn out.)
The point is that I have been working so hard at promotion and networking and all the nuts and bolts of publishing that I have lost sight of why I do any of this stuff in the first place–to entertain, to tell a good story, to make people laugh and cry and escape for a while.
So today I’m taking one of my print copies of Cannibal Hearts down and I’m going to read it through, just to see if I like the story. I’ve got a “useful” reason to do it, too, since Brandon is going to be reading that one next and I need to put together notes on the character voices for him. So I can pretend I’m working.
It’s hard to remember that this stuff is supposed to be fun, sometimes. I’ve started working on The Worms Of Heaven, and I think I’ve got a pretty good hook in the first chapter, but I don’t want to get so caught up in the craft of writing that I lose the enjoyment of it.
After all, if I’m not having fun, how do I expect my readers to?