Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I'm having a Charlie Brown kind of day. Maybe it's been exacerbated by the repeated listenings to A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, but I got two bits of not-happy news in the last two days. It's not exactly bad news but, you know, just not good. Am I taking it too personally? I'll let you be the judge:

1) I blogged last week about the story I narrated coming out on PodCastle. Yesterday I went to Escape Artist's (they produce the podcast) forums online and read the responses to the story. People there say what they want and are not inhibited because I'm not a presence there, like they might be at StarShipSofa. They didn't like my narration. At all. They also didn't much like the story, but that's beside the point. They thought I sounded bored, or simply not emotionally involved. Maybe I wasn't, although I did like the story. One poster thought my accents were inconsistent, and there I'd have to concede the point. I'm not great with accents. I shouldn't try to do them, but in this narration I did - a light southern accent and a pseudo-Asian one. Bad.

2) The other not-happy news is that I didn't make the short list for the First Annual Sofanaught Awards. I can be a bit blasé about this one, because the folks that did make the short list deserve to be on there. But I wanted to be. More than I think I let myself believe.

Now I'm thinking - "Do I suck as a narrator?" I really enjoy doing it and have no delusions that I'm a great one, I can recognize that I need to improve. But you know, it's hard to hear the criticism - expressed outright or not.

That is all.



Matthew Sanborn Smith said...

Diane, you're a great narrator. I haven't listened to the Podcastle story yet, but on the Sofa, you're in the unfortunate position of being one of many great narrators. I thought Kenny's narration was absolutely brilliant and he didn't make the short list either.

Feel blah for a few hours if you want, but then pull yourself out of it. I've gotten something along the lines of 475 rejections for my stories over the last eighteen years and as I produce more the rejections just keep coming faster. This is life. We all get better the more we do stuff, I shouldn't have to tell a singer and teacher that. We love you, so don't stop.

Grant said...

You're an excellent narrator. Every story I heard you narrate has sounded amazing. I haven't listened to the Podcastle one yet either, so I can't judge, but if people on their forums are giving you a hard time about accents, you're in good company - a certain Wellingtonian got the same grief not long ago.

I'd agree with Matt: your excellent narration perhaps doesn't stand out on the sofa because all the narrations are excellent and have been since the first episode. Something I'm reminded of when I listen to some other podcasts.

And I have to agree with him about people rejecting your art. Not everyone is going to like everything you do and that's OK. That's great actually, because it means you can take chances and try new things.

Keep up the good work - your narrations are great!

Diane Severson said...

Thank you, both Matt and Grant (and others who've responded elsewhere), for your encouragement. I really appreciate it. It's like you're in a vacuum doing this narration stuff and I usually take positive feedback with a grain of salt (which may sound like a slap in the face, but in print you can never tell if people are just being polite or are sincere), but negative feedback I take way too seriously.

At any rate, I'm over it now. Thanks so much for the boost, guys, and for giving me stuff to think about that might - scratch that - *will* help change my attitude towards negative feedback. Love you guys!

Anonymous said...

Hi Diane, it's Amy! I think you're a wonderful narrator. I particularly admire how crisp your narrations are - you never swallow words or rush past them. I've found myself going back even in professional narrations I've bought now and then to try to catch a word, but never with your readings (which is especially nice when the story is SF and some of the terms are scientific or unfamiliar). I hope you don't stop, because I really enjoy listening to you! It's Podcastle's loss if its listeners don't know how good they've got it.

Diane Severson said...

Aw, Amy! I had no idea you were reading my blog! Thank you! And also for your very encouraging words. No worries, I won't stop doing narrations, I enjoy doing it too much to quit because of some negative criticism. It's just finding the time that's a bit of a challenge... :-) How do you do it all?!? I think I'm just a slacker at heart! As for PodCastle, they'll have to listen to me at least one more time - got a Eugie Foster story in the works for them!

Anonymous said...

I only recently discovered your blog and worked it so I could "subscribe" via my LiveJournal. I need to go listen to your narrations that are in other places besides SSS! I agree with you about time being a constraint on podcasting fun; it really does take time to do a recording. At any rate, I'm glad I found you here in another corner of the 'net. :)