Thursday, November 29, 2012

This is why writers need wives…

Or, at least, this is a story that explains just how much I need mine.

I might have mentioned over on the Ken La Salle blog that I had been working on an audiobook for Daughter of a One-Armed Man. (I’m not sure. I never read it.) And, you know, this was the case. I recorded the entire book and began working on post-productions issues of sound quality, editing, and so on.

After I finished a couple of chapters, I asked Vicky to give it a listen. In fact, I cornered her in her car, as we drove to dine with her family the day after Thanksgiving.

Almost right away, I noticed something going on with Vicky’s nose, as if she smelled something… very bad.

“How is it?” I asked.

“It’s fine,” she said. But she seemed to be lying.

But then, after a while, she began to turn green.

“You okay?” I asked.

“Yep,” she lied. “Just enjoying it.”

Now, here’s the thing. Not only did I want to play the disc so she could hear it, but I also wanted to hear it. Before this point, I’d only heard the book on my PC as I worked on it. I knew that hearing it “in the field” so to speak would prove very useful in knowing how it had turned out.

And it hadn’t turned out well. Despite my care, there were several problems, most stemming from the dramatic nature of the book and the limits of my technology. In other words, the book sounded horrible whenever I raised my voice and inaudible when things got too quiet. This wouldn’t be so bad if I had a studio… but I don’t.

Right at that moment, I was standing on the edge of a decision. Should I continue working on the book or should I chalk it up to a failed experiment and move on to the next project? (One I will comment on much further over in the Ken La Salle blog.)

That’s when Vicky had heard enough. “I don’t know how to tell you this,” she said, which was really all I needed to hear.

“Just tell me,” I said. Even if I didn’t need to hear it, it would help to hear it.

So, she told me. And she confirmed a lot of my concerns. You see, I am always overly critical of my own work and it was this knowledge that I was going to be much harder on myself that had kept me on the edge. Knowing that I wasn’t just being overly critical, that the book had turned out poorly, was enough to help me reach a decision.

“I’ll move on,” I told her.

“Do you have to?” Vicky asked. “I hate to think you wasted all that effort.”

“I’ll learn from this,” I said. “Nothing is wasted. It’s a learning experience.”

So, to return to my original point, I am fortunate to have Vicky around. Because I generally think everything I do is shitty. It’s only the enthusiasm from everyone else that changes my mind. It’s good to have someone I trust who can assure me. “No. It really is as shitty as you thought.”

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