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In One Ear

March 24, 2015

 When I'm working on a story, especially one I'll be spending a lot of time with, I like to come up with a playlist to help me set the tone for a particular scene or character. Along these musical lines, I came across a method to help influence my writing.

 

A few years ago I was listening to the audiobook of Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis as read by James Van Der Beek. I fell asleep to the record. I'd like to clarify that I wasn't bored, just really sleepy. When I woke up, the voice in my head had changed to that of James Van Der Beek with transgressive scrutiny of Bret Easton Ellis. This lasted for about twelve hours before wearing off.

 

I had a similar experience after watching a performance of King Lear without any breaks on YouTube. I didn't recognize the change at first, but I noticed something seemed different, yet familiar. I tapped out the beat and realized that I was talking in iambic pentameter.

 

I've always felt like audiobooks had to work extra hard to prove themselves, and were only used by people walking on treadmills or driving, but I've discovered that they are a great tools for authors to emerge themselves into voices and styles that might not click as readily through reading.

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