A Good Listener

I have a hard time sitting still for long periods of time. There’s so much I want to do, so many projects I bounce between on any given day, so finding the time to actually sit down and quietly read a book doesn’t always happen for me, even though I love love love to read. So how do I still manage to get through about a book a week on average? I listen to them. I know, audio books are for old folks, right? I’m not even 30 yet! My mom used to borrow books on tape from the library when she traveled for work, and I as a teen I thought that was pretty lame, especially when loud music was an option. I’m now realizing she was onto something, she found a great way to multitask and get more out of the time on the road. I’m proud to say I have my Audible.com subscription and I go through credits like I go through a bag of potato chips. I use the Audible.com app and my story plays like magic out of the speaker on my phone, usually from my back pocket as I go about my day (not just in the car, not just at the gym). Listening to novels allows me to keep doing what I’m doing, but still offers that escape into another life, another world, that’s so addictive.

Audio books also give me an edge when I write dialogue in my own stories, I believe. When you listen to someone reading out loud, it’s really easy to tell when the dialogue is a bit off and doesn’t sound realistic, and now that I’ve become an avid listener of books, I think that’s helped me hear the difference and carry that over into my own work. One writing tip I’ve heard countless times is to read your dialog out loud, and though it seems kinda silly, it really does make sense, you can hear the problems before you even finish speaking the sentence. Listening to books has also taught me to listen to the way people speak, the slang that’s natural, the cadence of their comments. There’s some words that seem to appear in books all the time (like cacophony, which has been in every single book I’ve read so far this year!), but I’ve never actually heard a person use in real life, so I tend to avoid big complicated words in my own writing because I gravitate towards characters that are fairly ordinary, and ordinary people use ordinary vocabulary.

I still make time for “real” books on occasion. As much as I love my audio books, I also love dirt cheap used books and have a huge stack of them on my shelf to prove it. I’m usually reading two books at a time: one the old fashioned way, one with my ears. I’ve started keeping track of my “currently reading” list on Goodreads, but only I know which of the two books I’m actually reading and which one is being read to me.

 

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