Essay–Sound Effects in Audiobooks

As I record the audiobook for The Black, I’m faced with a few questions. The more I narrate this book (yes, it’s more or less a straight read), the more I feel like something’s missing. Especially for the parts of the story where characters aren’t involved. If you’ve read the book, then you know what I’m talking about.

I will probably experiment with sound effects for these specific scenes. The ones I put in my story “Lamashtu” have thus far garnered great comments. So I must be doing something right.

But when does a little become too much? I guess you could say it’s the same as writing fiction. There are certain literary tricks one can put in a story or their writing style. But like most things, overdoing it becomes a distraction and negatively affects the reader’s experience. Listening to someone read suffers the same problem.

I have listened to several audiobooks (like The Leviathan Chronicles) where the sound engineering was incredible at creating atmosphere and immersing the listener in the story. However, if done incorrectly these textures become a menace to the tale rather than a positive augmentation.

So caution is the watchword. Plus? Putting in textures is a LOT of work. It increases the amount of time it takes to produce a final version of the book. I’ll use it sparingly. I promise. Hopefully it’s not a distraction and will build the tension and creep-out factor. Especially during the final acts.

Anyway, just random thoughts. The “Lamashtu” finale drops tomorrow night. I hope you’ll join us for it.


One thought on “Essay–Sound Effects in Audiobooks”

  1. I like sound effects if the book is produced more like an audio play than an audiobook (like books from Graphic Audio, for example.) If the audiobook is a straight read with dialog tags, etc, the sound effects feel out of place to me.

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