A Question of voice,

(And I know this is going to piss off Bryon, but tough – them’s the breaks, Dude…)

Everyone always says that ‘voice’ is one of the most important things in writing. So what happens when the voice in question, isn’t yours anymore? Audio Books.

John’s just received his copies of Winter’s End on cassette, but hasn’t listened to them yet. Is he in for a treat, or a nightmare? The funny thing is, that while writing, and editing and doing all the other things we jolly write-ists do, the voices are our own, right? The voices in our heads (not the ones that tell us to buy high-velocity rifles – the other ones)? But as soon as the audio version comes out, that all changes. Now it’s someone else’s voice reading your words… actually ‘reading’ isn’t the right term, they’re not reading your words, they’re performing them and that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

I know I’ve been lucky – I got John Sessions and he’s actually Scottish, so score on the ‘not putting on a Scotty from Star Trek’ front. Plus he’s done a pretty bloody good job: it was the Sunday Times Audio Book of the Week. But it’s still someone else’s voice and I find that so bloody weird!

Weirder still, in addition to the abridged version (available now from all good bookshops) they’ve just sold the unabridged audio rights to someone else. And I have no idea if this is going to be John again, or someone completely new.

And as if that wasn’t odd enough, what happens if you land the big pay check and someone actually makes a film or TV series out of your book? Not just someone else’s voice, but face, moves, interpretation, direction… All that stuff, wriggling away in other people’s heads. It’s probably why some writers HATE the TV adaptations of their work.