I’ve been working with a professional actor, talking through characterization, place, and nuance about the characters of my debut novel, The Big Inch, as we prepare to go into production for Audible. Because many of the characters in The Big Inch are Texan, and many have southern roots, you’d think it would be easy. Au Contraire. This roster of distinctive voices would give any actor a challenge. Since a listener can’t see who’s talking from the sentence structure, it’s up to the narrator to give vocal cues and–here’s the kicker–maintain those cues through hours and hours of a dialogue-based novel. God Bless the woman who’s taking on this opportunity and her knack for mimicking the distinctives of a regional accent that needs just enough variation between the old and young women, those that are celebrating their southern roots, and those that are hiding from them.
To be fair, when I was writing The Big Inch, I never dreamed it would one day become an Audible book that would rely on a strong vocal actor bringing the characters to life for those listening while stuck in traffic or on an extended road trip. I trusted my reader’s imagination. Now, though, I’m trusting someone to give sass and vigor to people that previously existed in my head. Stay tuned, I’ll keep you in the loop as to how this is progressing, and what some of the tips I’m using to inspire the narrator to hear the characters as they sound inside my imagination.