John Hodgman and Neil Gaiman discuss audiobooks

I used to never read my work aloud. It wasn't an intentional decision, just not something that seemed like a part of the writing process. Written things were always meant to be devoured quietly, secretly, by a single hissing light bulb, but never aloud! Oh no! Fuck no! Never read something written aloud! Only non-written things can be read aloud ...

Reading my words aloud gave me a lot of insight into how fucking stupid they can sound sometimes. Like that last sentence. I could choose to read it aloud to myself right now, but I already know it's not my best work, so I'll just hover in an ignorant bliss until this is posted and I've begun drinking again. You'd think I'd just go back and rewrite it, but, hey, if I'm going to be lazy once, why not twice?

What really changed my mind was an accidental purchase of the original BBC recordings of "The Lord of the Rings." I found the boxed set (on cassette tape, naturally) at Goodwill for 99 cents, never expecting to actually listen to the enclosed tapes. I really just wanted the wooden box top to hang as decoration, but seeing as my used vehicle had a working cassette player, I figured what the hell and slid the first off-white tape into the dash. The familiar click-whizz of the tape player snatching another victim opened a portal to an audioverse of awful impressions and faux-British accents, grandly spewing the timeless words of JRR Tolkien. The story took on another life, and while I didn't particularly enjoy that life, it made me wonder what my own prose would sound like read aloud (while doing a faux-British accent).

Anyway, give a quick listen to this funny, interesting discussion between two funny, interesting people, talking about the power of reading aloud.

Lots to consume here for writers as well about the way your story can change (for better or worse) when transposed into a different medium.