Audiobook Release: Vacation by JC Miller

Vacation CoverVacation, released July 14, 2017. It was such a pleasure to collaborate with JC Miller in producing and narrating her tender and charming love story about the irresistibility of human attraction and the delicate and graceful balance of humans and nature. (“Fragile cells alone in an ocean of darkness, finding one another, and then clinging together like soap bubbles.”)

JC’s inspired visions of everyday life as a man struggles to emerge from grief and emptiness in the aftermath of his wife’s death mirror the elegant simplicity of the microscopic world of William Koval, an introverted medical scientist with little faith in humanity and even less desire to bond with it. He meets a matter-of-fact and self-reliant history professor on a walking tour of the Cotswolds and their endearing efforts to overcome grief, regret, and isolation have us willing their hearts to open.

This production is also the culmination of a new pre-production process I’m using to analyze and internalize the story in an effort to enhance my oral delivery. It feels like a success from that perspective, but listeners will determine that. As the narrator I want it to be so engaging and satisfying that you forget you’re listening to an audiobook. A tall order indeed. What I know is that my experience in telling the story was quite fulfilling. I’m pleased. I’m not satisfied. But I’m pleased.
https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/59938-now-on-audible-vacation/embed

What It Takes: Love Story Cheat Sheet /Controlling Idea (Theme)

Audiobook-Logo-White-2-No-B“Love triumphs when lovers dispel their ignoble attitudes and embrace the vibrant mix of humanity within all social classes.” — Shawn Coyne, Love Story Cheat Sheet / Controlling Idea.

In Part 4 of his 6 part guest post series on stevenpressfield.com, Shawn Coyne analyzes Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice and guides us to the story’s Controlling Idea, or Theme. How does the story end? What causes the love value to move from ignorance at the beginning to (spoiler) at the end? How do the lovers change? And what causes them to change?

Shawn goes into much greater detail in his book, The Story Grid. Written primarily for editors and based on his twenty-five year career in publishing, The Story Grid is also a valuable resource for both aspiring and established writers. I’ve begun using The Story Grid‘s concepts to analyze and internalize Stories I’m preparing to produce and narrate as audiobooks. My first production completed utilizing some of the tools in The Story Grid and in Stephen Pressfield‘s book, Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*t, will be released on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes in the next few days.

Vacation by JC Miller; you guessed it, a Love Story, set both in the Cotswolds, the walking capital of England where the lovers meet, and finally in atmospheric Seattle where the lovers court, change, and become. It’s difficult for me, for obvious reasons, to assess my success in applying this approach. All I know is it feels good, and in delivering the story orally, my personal experience was very satisfying. I think I did get to a level of engagement and expression that I might not have otherwise. But listener response should tell me something. So. We’ll see. Either way, it’s a great experiment and for me an important one. I’m definitely enjoying it.

Why Love Rules By Shawn Coyne

What I Mean by Love Story By Shawn Coyne

What Are Love Stories For? By Shawn Coyne

Love Story Cheat Sheet / Controlling Idea By Shawn Coyne

Love Story Cheat Sheet / Obligatory Scenes By Shawn Coyne

Love Story Cheat Sheet / Conventions By Shawn Coyne

 

In Production | Vacation by JC Miller (clip #3)

Vacation CoverPreview clip #3 from my audiobook production of Vacation by JC Miller, which is set for a summer 2017 release.

 Vacation is a Love Story set partially in the Cotswolds, the walking capital of England, where the lovers meet. In this preview clip, we find all the main characters who appear in the walking tour part of the story. Two extremely attractive and cultured French women (mother and daughter), a gay couple from North Carolina, an older couple from Australia, Annie from Vashon Island, Washington, William, our hero, and their bumbling tour guide. Listen as they deal with a “wee” change in itinerary.

Does the ear make the writer?

Audiobook-Logo-White-2-No-BIn Letters of Ted Hughes, the English poet and children’s writer, husband of Sylvia Plath, offered advice to his daughter Frieda in a letter about the importance of reading aloud – “Read every sentence as a separate music speech unit – advice which he subsequently explains he himself received from T.S. Eliot:

T.S. Eliot said to me ‘There’s only one way a poet can develop his actual writing – apart from self-criticism & continual practice. And that is by reading other poetry aloud – and it doesn’t matter whether he understands it or not (i.e. even if it’s in another language.) What matters above all, is educating the ear.'”

Then Hughes continues, “What matters, is to connect your own voice with an infinite range of verbal cadences & sequences – and only endless actual experience of your ear can store all that in your nervous system. The rest can be left to your life & your character.”

Although he was referring specifically to poetry, Hughes was also a “supremely original writer of imaginative and critical prose.” Is it reasonable then that the same is true of the writer of narrative prose? Does reading aloud also help develop a writer’s Storytelling? And if the experience of the narrative writer’s ear, as they read aloud, contributes to the development of their skill as a writer, then is this where the oral and literary traditions intersect? There in the nervous system of the writer? Is it that “infinite range of verbal cadences & sequences” that culminates in a narrative voice telling a story that the writer hears and then records for consumption by the eye? And does the reader then hear that same voice? Is the reader’s satisfaction directly related to the fluency and clarity of that narrative voice? Who might answer these questions? J.K. Rowling? George R. R. Martin? Hemingway? Shakespeare? The New York Times book critics?

So then, when a Story is read aloud, is the listener’s enjoyment and satisfaction directly related to the reader’s ability to find and channel that same narrative “voice?” Writers and audiobook narrators want to know. My money is on yes.

What It Takes: What Are Love Stories For?

Audiobook-Logo-White-2-No-B“The Obsession Love Story concerns physical Desire. This is the first level of love,thinking someone is cute and wanting to possess them.…” – Shawn Coyne, What Are Love Stories For?

In Part 3 of his 6 part guest post series on stevenpressfield.com, Shawn Coyne breaks down the Love Story genre into its three sub-genres, Obsession, Courtship, and Marriage. He introduces the qualities that define each sub-genre and also presents a convincing discussion of the role Love Stories play in our lives. “Love stories give us prescriptive (positive) and cautionary (negative) tales to navigate love’s emotional minefield. They give us tools to try out and behaviors to avoid.”

Shawn covers all of this in greater detail, as well as the breakdown of the other literary genres, in his book, The Story Grid. Written primarily for editors and based on his twenty-five year career in publishing, The Story Grid is also a valuable resource for both aspiring and established writers. In it he approaches the global concept of Story through deconstruction of genre based on Content, Structure, Time, Reality, and Style. Love Story is, of course, one of those genres. I use The Story Grid‘s concepts to analyze Stories that I’m preparing to narrate and produce as audiobooks.

My current production is Vacation by JC Miller. A Courtship Love Story set partially in the Cotswolds, the walking capital of England, where the lovers meet. In this preview clip, we find all the main characters who appear in the walking tour part of the story. Two extremely attractive and cultured French women, a gay couple from North Carolina, an older couple from Australia, Annie from Vashon Island, Washington, William, our hero, and their bumbling tour guide, all deal with a “wee” change in itinerary.

Vacation is set for a summer 2017 release.

Why Love Rules By Shawn Coyne

What I Mean by Love Story By Shawn Coyne

What Are Love Stories For? By Shawn Coyne

Love Story Cheat Sheet / Controlling Idea By Shawn Coyne

Love Story Cheat Sheet / Obligatory Scenes By Shawn Coyne

Love Story Cheat Sheet / Conventions By Shawn Coyne

 

In Production | Vacation by JC Miller (clip #2)

vacation-cover2Sneak Preview Clip #2. Vacation is a delightful courtship Love Story, by JC Miller, set partially in the Cotswolds, the walking capital of England, where the lovers meet.

This clip is the beginning point of the story’s build, just following the inciting incident where William, our hero, the geeky and overworked head of the Pathology Department at Seattle’s Northwest Hospital, goes against his nature and agrees to take his first vacation in a decade.

In this scene he arrives at the airport the morning of his flight to England on his way to a walking tour of the Cotswolds, the walking capital of England. Verdant hills, country gardens, meandering streams, and honey-colored stone villages await him. Not to mention romance. Hope you enjoy it.

Vacation is set for a summer 2017 release.