A teacher once told me (actually, there were probably several) that reading your work aloud is the ultimate test. If it sounds lousy or awkward when you’re reading it aloud, particularly in front of people, then go back and edit it until you can stand behind what you’ve written. So, I figured I would do that while editing The Thirteenth Hour. I ended up reading it aloud into a microphone connected to a computer, which recorded the files digitally, generally in ~60 minute chunks. There ended up being about 14 hours of audio from start to finish.
Sometimes, I was reading it alone, just for the purposes of catching grammatical errors, but many other times, I had my infant daughter on my lap. All the research my wife and I read about infant language development seemed to say that one of the most important things you could do is expose their little brains to language – either by reading to them and/or talking directly to them. It didn’t seem to matter so much what you were saying; the more important thing seemed to be actually talking or reading to your child. So I figured I’d do both at the same time. (You might be able to hear some of her baby noises in the background on some of the files; don’t worry, I cut out the crying/fussing and kept the cooing/gurgling).
I’ve never involved in acting, MCing, or radio, so it was a little harder than I thought to just read the manuscript coherently without making mistakes. But it was a fun project, and it served its purpose. The text underwent more revisions after I read it (sometimes there a short break in the reading while I edit something), so it reads like a beta version of the story. There are some parts that are obviously not in the reading, like all the pictures and the supplemental material at the end, but the story that read is about 95% of what’s in the final version.
If you’d like to stream a sample off the web to see what the story’s all about, you can here.
If you’d like to download the files instead (all in .mp3 128 kbps format, all around 60 min, most around 50 MB), you can find them all in this google drive.
Stay tuned for how to get them on itunes.