Monday, July 11, 2011

Editing with Audio

Editing has to be one of the most difficult and tedious aspects of writing. Would I be a complete nerd if I admitted to liking it? Taking that rough, unpolished piece of writing and transforming it into the art it was meant to be gives me a bit of a thrill. Especially when I am able to smooth out the stubborn kinks I had difficulty addressing during the first rough drafts.

There are so many different ways to go about editing your document. Creating timelines and lists to ensure plot and character development; creating spreadsheets to maintain continuity and keep track of small details; or just reading the work through, over and over and over. The thing is: how do you know when your work is really ready for that final print version?

The answer for me is simple. Record it.

For the past month, I have been recording Remember Newvember with Irondog Studio. I thought creating an audio book would be a fun way to get a bit more exposure and offer another media for those who commute to work or don’t like to read, but enjoy listening. In my naivety, I thought the recording would only take as long as it would to read the book – about five or six hours, total. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

To start with, one hour and twenty minutes of recorded material took over six hours to record. That was the first day. I was nervous, and uncomfortable. Mr. Zee insisted I wear headphones so I could clearly hear what he was hearing. I don’t like to listen to my voice under normal circumstances; can you imagine how it felt to hear it in stereo? The experience was a little creepy and took some time to get used to.

As I got more comfortable, found my own reading cadence and rhythm, I realized what a great tool this experience was for editing. I had thought my book was pretty much print-ready. I had already released it as an e-book, knowing that if necessary I could make corrections easily enough, but I had honestly thought it was well-polished and error-free. Reading the book aloud, slowly, to an audience of one, proved otherwise.

While I read, I found minor typos, a few grammar issues and awkward wording. Most importantly, I was able to figure out where the words flowed well, and where they just sounded weird. Mr. Zee was excellent at pointing out too many sounds that were similar; or highlighting sections that just didn’t make any sense. In all, the entire experience turned into one huge editing adventure, and not just the audio recording I had anticipated.

At this point, there remains one more session to complete the voice recording. In total, I think the recording aspect will take about twenty hours of studio time. Then, Mr. Zee will work his mixing, editing and audio magic so that we have a lovely finished product. I know there’s more to it than that – but that will have to wait for another blog.

Remember Newvember by Jennifer Bogart Audio Cover Draft

Even if you don’t use the services of a recording studio, taking the time to read your work out loud to your dog, cat, spouse, child or neighbour (offer them whatever it takes to get them to sit and listen for twenty-plus hours), really does help with that final bit of polishing to make your work really shine. 


  1. Alright, cool:) Most blogs talk only about writing, but as a Tech Writer myself it's nice to see something about editing on the web. Cool post:)

  2. Sometimes I feel like all I do is edit. Reading for the audio has been eye-opening, to say the least.

  3. Hi Jennifer, Fantastic post. I read my books, the rhythm is a jaunt with awkward sentences flying freely here and there. I wonder do I hire an unbiased editor or, do I edit myself? I decide to pluck a daisy. It leads me back here.
    Do you offer editing services?
    Thanks in advance, Mairéad (Ireland)

  4. Hi Mairéad - I have never offered editing services. However, I did have an interesting conversation today about the difference between what reads well on a page and how things sound when read out loud. Not to mention, what might sound jarring to you may be poetry to someone else - especially since you are from Ireland and I am from Canada.

    I think, perhaps, when it comes to editing, you have to do what works for you on a personal level. I have had the benefit of an amazing friend who reads every word as I write, listens while I talk through character and plot development and then helps with line edits.

  5. Congratulations, Jennifer. You were the winner of my 100 Followers blog contest at Visit my blog and/or website at (and click on Blog Store) for a complete list of Thought Box options. Email me at and let me know which one you want and include your home address so I can get it sent to you. Thanks for your support and keep visiting!
    Have a good rest of your day.

  6. Thank you Jennifer. That certainly helps. Just downloading your book. Strangely, it is a lady from Vancouver who has been following my blog that asked if she could do a review of my book!
    I also love the fact that there is no separation between people these days.
    I have someone in mind who would help with my editing, someone who knows my voice and tone.
    Thank you so much again for responding. Just makes my decision easy.
    With best wishes, Mairéad.