• Fiction

    The Making of a Fiction Podcast

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    So, aside from the recently launched/about to launch Days of Geek podcast, I’ve been talking about podcasting fiction for a long time.

    I’ve finally started, picking a ‘get my feet wet’ project to begin with, a 13,000-word fantasy novelette I wrote a couple of years ago. Thorvald’s Wyrd is a good trial piece in a lot of ways, but there are two big ones.

    First, it’s only 13,000 words. That should make it an audio project with a clearly visible end right from the beginning.

    And second, the scenes in the story are very short, exactly 100 words long apiece. I’ve broken it up into 10 episodes of 12-14 scenes each with nice little cliffhangers for every episode but the last one. I don’t know if that could have worked out better with planning.

    Oh, and third, the non-immediate family feedback I’ve had on the story prior to now has been almost universally good, so I’m comfortable putting it out there. In fact, it’s already out there as a long series of blog posts.

    The process is a little more involved than you might think if you’ve never thought of podcasting before, but I’ve simplified it down to 8 steps for my own piece of mind.

    Pre-Production Steps

    1. 1.     Scripting: the story is in its final form, but here is where I go through and highlight every speaking characters lines in different colours (there are only four with more than one line of speech). I’m planning effects on a couple of voices and may want to get a woman to speak for Sunna to avoid any falsetto issues.
    2. 2.     Planning. This is the figuring out of what I need to do for the story to fit a podcast format. Episode length, intro and outro, and so on.
    3. 3.     Hosting. One needs a place to put the audio files for other people to be able to download them.
    4. 4.     Theme music. That fits the podcast. I’ve got a couple of awesome possibilities, but I’m not sure how rights will shake out at this point.
    5. 5.     Artwork. Needs to be eye catching and appropriate. Still on the list.
    6. 6.     E-book formatting. I need a few more self-study sessions before making the first run at this, but I want to have an ebook available when the podcast launches. Toying with the idea of print, too, but it is only a 13,000 words long.
    7. 7.     Production. Broken down into steps by episode, see below.
    8. 8.     Marketing. Not that I plan a huge marketing campaign, but I will be talking about it and posting about it pretty regularly in the weeks before, during, and for a while after it runs.

    Steps 1-3 are taken care of. Step 7 is in progress. Step 8 I’m going to suck at, but I can probably blame most of that on everything else going on in my life.

    On a production basis, episode by episode, it’s a fairly straightforward process:

    1. 1.     Record. Find a quiet place and talk into a recording device for a while.
    2. 2.     Edit. Test runs have shown me that between long, drawn out pauses and having to repeat things I screw up, what I record will be just a little bit less than twice as long as the final product. All that extra stuff has to come out.
    3. 3.     Voices and Effects. I’m not going to be doing special effects, but I am adjusting some character voices. This will require a little re-recording of certain lines to paste into the reading. There may be a little processing, too so the voices fit how I think things sound in my head. And, like I said earlier, I think it might be beneficial to have an actual woman play the female character. This might get a little more difficult with the next project as it has several significant female characters. And even more so with the novel I have planned where two of the three primaries are women. But I really don’t think I want to get into the whole full cast thing because time commitments go up exponentially.
    4. 4.     Intro and Outro. These need to be recorded once each, probably, and then added to the front and back of each episode.
    5. 5.     Upload. And schedule for timed release. I plan to have the whole thing done. Before Christmas would be nice, and I think quite manageable.

    At this moment:

    Episode 1-2: Edited

    Episodes 3-4: Recorded

    Episodes 5-10: Scripted

    There will probably be a short blooper real after the fact (I’ve got a couple of good ones already), and potentially a feedback episode, if I get any.

    Once Thorvald’s Wyrd is complete, I’m going to breathe a little bit before I start working on my second audio fiction project, slotted to be my 35,000 word novella, Turn the World Around. Like Thorvald’s Wyrd, it also appeared as a serial on my blog and I’m pretty happy with it. (Although a couple of recent news events threaten to make a small piece of it alternate history at any moment.)

    The third project will be either an 80k+ word novel or a roughly equivalent in length collection of short fiction. Whichever isn’t the third will be the fourth. After that, we’ll see.

    At least, that’s the plan. And Life has flipped around many of my plans in the last few years, which is why I’m not publicly attaching time frames to any of them. Make no mistake though, I have time tables I’d like to hit and they’re probably more aggressive than they should be considering recent experience.

    Still, shoot for the stars and you might just make the moon.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Life,  Writing

    The Status of Status Bars

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    If you’ve been here more than once, you might have noticed I have several status bars near the top right. These were supposed to be highlighting works in progress at any given moment.

    Well, they haven’t really changed. For a couple of months. The first draft of “Listening Station” has been done longer than I’d like to think about, and I should really take it down, but it does make me feel like I’ve managed something this year. The third draft of Ancient Runes got about half an hour of attention over the summer. And I don’t want to think about the Sooper Seekrit Projekt at the moment, except I do want to.

    While wrestling with life and in my own head over summer, I stopped being creative in a fiction direction. I think in several directions, really. But it’s starting to come back. I’m reading through Ancient Runes to get a feel for the story again and start to get back in the zone.

    And I’m trying to blog way too much at the moment to get myself used to typing on a regular basis again. This will slow down very soon, especially since I’m using time that I really should be spending stitching together everything I’ve recorded for the next couple of episodes of Days of Geek.

    So the status bars will change soon. One will come down and I’ll probably alter the arrangement a little to include a line for audio production.

    And I really ought to spend a little more time on the DoG website, since the first episode is up by the time you read this. Or it’s supposed to be. I may have decided to push it back a week so I can actually do something with the website. Why? Because I’ve spent too much of my available spare time editing audio and absolutely none of it getting podcast art, a profile image, or putting any content on the website at all. <sigh>

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Life

    Days of Geek Launch

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    The Podcast Launch

    So I’ve been thinking, and talking, and writing, about doing a podcast for a long time, coming up with a lot of thoughts and ideas of things I’d like to do.

    The primary criteria involved are fun and interesting. Removing those will turn podcasting into a drudge task that doesn’t last very long. Not what I’m after in a hobby.

    I thought I had it with my girls deciding it might be fun. The youngest wanted to help with interviews and the oldest actually wanted us to co-host, and we were going to talk about a variety of geeky things we enjoyed together or even as a whole family. Unfortunately, that excitement didn’t last long. Schedules may partly be to blame, but we recorded bits and pieces of several episodes and they lost interest in doing it. The Cyborg Bunnies Review was no more, gone before it had really gotten moving.

    But I still wanted to do something, and the taste of getting things going wasn’t enough. Plus, two friends had been kind enough to submit to guinea pig interviews. Those had to happen.

    And life happened, too.

    So I found myself in the back half of August when we’d planned to launch in June and I went back to the list of all of the ideas I’d had for podcasts, combined a couple of them, took some inspiration from the podcast that never was, and came up with Days of Geek.

    Interviews, audio essays, classic geek cinema discussion, reviews, and Q&A panels I’ve recorded at conventions (mainly Fan Expo so far, but I’ve got a couple from Montreal last fall, too). An eclectic collection of geeky things I find fun and interesting. I think other people might, too, but we’ll have to wait and see.

    I have tentatively scheduled to launch on September 17th 24th. (Still need cover art and a couple of small things.) There’s nothing really stopping me at this point except I only have three episodes in the can where I wanted at least five. Life again.

    But I’ve also scripted the next two episodes, rough plotted five beyond that, and listed the main subject for forty more. Just at this moment, I have one more interview, 12 more recorded Q&As, and no shortage of geek cinema or subject matter I can go over. Plus some co-hosting ideas of my own. There’s no shortage of content—all I have to do is produce it.

    So I’m going to aim for weekly and when life makes that hard, I’ll post a quick audio apology and miss a week. People are pretty understanding when the content is free.

    And I think this is going to be fun.

    There’s not much going on yet, but you can connect with the show on Facebook (Days of Geek), Twitter (@daysofgeek), or the website (daysofgeek.com).

    Stay tuned for the launch, and be well.

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