Defeated and Storytelling

Conceded Defeat

Yesterday, having discovered the cause of certain problems, I conceded defeat and switched from using the free LibreOffice and moved to Word.  This was a big disappointment for me, as I dislike Word intensely.  The simple fact is, however, that I need to be able to provide manuscripts in set formats, based on templates, and those manuscripts have to be in Word doc format.  Now, LibreOffice will save in the appropriate file format, but in doing so, it corrupts the page formatting!  It only seems to do this, for some reason, when using a template.  That means that my submissions get rejected, require considerable work by others or produce a less than desirable end result.  I tried everything I could think of to fix the problem, but every time I told LibreOffice to save in doc format, the errors returned – sometimes magnified!  If you’re just using the standard page layout, then there’s no problem.  The thought of writing in LibreOffice and then switching to Word purely for template versions, though, just seems to be an unwanted complication.

Storytelling and the Audiobook

I my review of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen recently, I made mention of reading to children and audiobooks.  I thought it might be worth expanding on the subject.  Don’t get me wrong!  I think audiobooks have a place, and if a child can’t get read to any other way, then they’re as good a way as any.  But, I honestly believe that children should be read to by a parent, or some other loved one, whose voice is very familiar, and very comfortable.  Why?  Well, as I said previously, even children have some idea of what the voices of characters should sound like, and they can maintain that if they are listening to the loved one.  An audiobook is acted as much s it is read.  As an unfamiliar voice, often using different ‘voices’ for different characters, the audiobook can easily override the child’s own imagination.  I recall reading a book and imagining a character to have a warm, homely, lovable voice.  I then heard a radio dramatisation of the book and the actor had a harsh, high voice that made the character sound distinctly unpleasant.  It could have ruined the book for me, if I had been younger.  Yet this phenomenon had never occurred when a loved one had read to me.  So I seriously believe that audiobooks should be the preserve of adults or those children who have no other option.

Why did I mention a voice being ‘comfortable’?  Well, there are many fine children’s books which may have a scary bit or two.  A loved one’s voice is comfortable.  It can be trusted, especially to protect.  A child will then enjoy the scary bits and not be unduly frightened.  I doubt that this is true with an audiobook.  In fact, many of the best voices in audiobooks are actually quite ‘dark’, and there would always be a temptation for the actor to use vocal tricks to emphasise the scary bits.  It would be a terrible shame if books started disappearing from the ‘safe list’ because of audiobooks!

These remarks aren’t confined to audiobooks.  They apply equally to radio dramatisations of books.  And going beyond that, movies and television may be very damaging to books.  Apart from their usual inaccurate rendering of books, the combination of actual images and voices that don’t fit the child’s imaginings can ruin a book completely, so that the child may abandon a favourite, possibly forever.

We play with such things at our peril!

~ Steve

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About Steve

An author since the age of 13 years, writing again dominates my activities. My "Imagineer-ing" blog is my primary site. Also: Beginner knitter since November 2010. Favourite knitting techniques: cable and lace. Beginner cross stitcher. Beginner jewellery maker. With the promotion of self publication and all the other work that has been going on here, Dad decided around 2am this morning (22/11/2013) that it was time to begin his next adventure. He was seen off earlier the previous evening by myself, my brother, my sister in law, and my sister, as well as his wife (our mum), and an enigmatic being known only as A Lorraine. After this time of story telling, laughing, crying, joking and mickey taking, we saw how tired both mum and dad were, and we decided to leave them under the (sometimes) gentle care of The Lorraine. When Dad found the timetable for his travels, he let Mum know gently, which woke her from her drowsing, then, with the same gentleness he showed in this universe, he boarded his favourite mode of transport, the Interdimensional Steam Train, and set off with a smile and a wave. For those of us closest, that smile was a reminder that his pain has ended, and the wave, an indicator that he will pop in to all those that knew him, from time to time. Usually at the most inconvenient and in opportune moments he can. While we are sad that he is no longer here, we are happy he now has no pain, and is experiencing more extraordinary things that his writers mind will be frantically weaving into a new story. Posted by Son Damien

8 thoughts on “Defeated and Storytelling

  1. Yep, I hear you. Did the same thing myself. Even after screaming at MS, I have to use them. Simply because most of the world does and the two just are not compatible enough. Spend too much time rejigging things.

    Bloody Bill Gates owns m soul, if I had one that is.

    • The phrase “Resistance is futile” springs to mind 😉 After years without MS Office, surrender has come hard! But, as you say, the majority use it, so I have to, too, if I want to do anything significant with my books.

      ‘Soul’? I think I had one of those, but it’s probably long gone LOL

  2. Parents need to preview audiobooks before sharing them with their kids. A friend uses audiobooks with her kids, particularly on long car rides. Her kids have favorites, so they wind up listening to the same ones over and over again.

    • That makes sense 😉 Even using audiobooks on journeys 😀 Our eldest grandson likes to read real books but he mixes that with games or TV shows/movies on an iPod Touch 😉 Our eldest grandchild, though, doesn’t travel well so she tends to sleep through the ordeal.

  3. On your Word issue – I’m compiling an anthology for a group, and I must say that even though there were under 50 submissions, almost all of them where nightmares to format. Eventually, had to go to the extreme, completely unformat the entire thing, and then manually sit and add required formatting back in – took ages. Also – Amazon likes clean word html docs – that way you should (theoretically) not get garbled on any of the new readers. I only use Calibre now for free review copies. Word really is best – sorry Steve. 😀 xx

    • Yes, I’ve heard of such atrocious problems, Jo. In fact, most seem to start from the assumption that they need to kill all formatting and then impose it once they have the text all assembled. I’ve only uploaded one actual Word file to Amazon and had no problems, the others were all ePubs, and again gave no trouble. I use Jutoh for creating ‘private’ formats and Calibre mainly for converting ebooks from others and library management.

      LOL I’ll forgive you :D.

  4. Audio books were a comfort to my daughter when she was little. She had nine eye surgeries, and I read to her a lot. When I went for my meal break, she would listen to one so it sounded as if there was someone in the room with her. They have their uses, but nothing replaces the voice of mummy or daddy reading to you! 🙂 I use word. Tried them all but go back to word, and Calibre to convert. Scrivener confused the heck out of me, and I only use that to plot and plan, when I remember. 🙂

    • I can see that would be the case, Glynis. I don’t think of audiobooks as ‘evil’, just potentially dangerous in making it too easy for lazy parents to use those instead of reading to their kids.

      I looked at Scrivener once and uninstalled it immediately LOL! I don’t plot or plan anyway, so that makes it pointless. Word processing is all I need, with Jutoh to do the rest of the hard work 🙂

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