Okay, I got to admit. I haven't listened to my own story yet. Too nervous. I'm too afraid if everything went right. I feel like J.M. Barrie in "Finding Neverland". Are they going to like it? Do they care?
I looked at the comments for the post. After a week, it seems most were about the commentary after the story. But that's fine. Of that, four or five comments were thumbs up. The one thumbs down was due to the audience being too "guy factor". That's fine by me. The story is about video games, so guy factor isn't really something I could control. I know girls do play video games, and I'd hoped the MMORPG element would be more gender-accepted. But if I write a space travel story, and someone doesn't like space, that's hardly something to chastize yourself for.
My favorite remark was that it felt original and refreshing. If I can make one original thing in this world, I have accomplished a great deal.
So I decided to try my hand at liveblogging as I listen. And the nice thing is it's free and available, so you can listen along. As I start the podcast, I find myself clapping my hands in delight as they say my name (they even pronounced it right, those nice people).
5:00 They're reading a little slower than I imagined it being. I might have picked up the pace just a smidge if I was reading. Or maybe I read too fast.
10:00 Bolbadir is just like I imagined he'd sound. He is frickin' hilarious. Is it wrong to laugh at your own story? I'm trying not to burst into hysterics at work.
13:11 The Game Judge is not like I imagined. I think he's speaking too robotically and dull. I Imagined him being more snide, like James Woods or Stewie Griffin. I based him on the guy who writes "Bannable Offenses". I thought he's the most dynamic character in the story--not quite a villain, not quite a hero. I wonder if they were trying to make him like the fat LARPer slob, like in "Make Love, Not Warcraft". Kinda disappointed.
15:31 Cyril needs prozac. Or whatever Bolbadir is taking.
16:46 "By the surly beard of Mrifk" is the best line ever.
17:09 How they did Peachbutt is interesting. I didn't think about her speaking in a "robo-demon" voice. I never considered her speaking like that--I always thought she had a normal voice--but it works. I might have toned it back just for the sake of listenability. But the tone is perfect.
18:36 Bolbadir needs his own series.
23:35 Interesting use of the RMTs. I didn't write them with pidgin-Asian accents. In fact, I didn't want them to. I wanted them to use "American voices" so they would try and fit in, while their poorly translated robot-speak totally negate that. I always thought everyone in the game has the same accent. They always do in most fantasies. In here, they sound like they're using the Jonny Quest villain voice. I hope no one thinks I'm racist.
25:02 I love-love-love the sound effects and music, especially during the PVP versus the RMT. They fit right in.
27:04 "No item to heal his ego." That was good too.
28:56 I should've made the Game Judge more threatening in this scene. And Cyril is too damn whiny for my taste (which is my fault, not the narrator's).
31:57 I hope no one thought the sudden appearance of the hundred party members is bad writing. Because it is.
32:48 Now I regret taking Peachbutt out of the game. I wanted to see more of her. Although "passing up the battle of the century for 'Jazzy Girls'" is a great line.
34:50 I should have been more creative with the spell names, instead of just mixed-up letters. And Wilhelm scream for the win.
38:06 Should have written out what an AOE is. I wonder how non-video game people are reacting to this story. Did I write it so they could enjoy it, or am I going over (under?) their heads?
40:40 I think they did a good job with Bolbadir's sudden disappearance.
42:58 I like the dragon sound effects too. Very intimidating, like I intended.
43:48 I hope I ended it okay. Seemed kind of abrupt to me. But it's about the journey, not the destination.
44:00 Oh god, my voice is so high. I don't even sound human. I sound like one of those transgendered people who you can't tell if he/she's a woman or man on the phone (my dad worked with someone like that).
After listening to it, I see lots of places where I should have revised, made it tighter, fixed some clunky sentences, and generally took out mistakes I wouldn't have made now. Part of the problem when you're an amateur writer is that you're too scared the reader won't know what you see in your head, so you overwrite.
But I can't stop smiling after I've listened to it. I'm so glad they had fun recording it. It really came through. Especially the people playing Bolbadir and Peachbutt. I totally understand his fatigue at the overused cliche video game worlds. But there's no greater compliment than hearing someone approaching your story with "hate" already in mind and changing it. That's a huge obstacle to overcome.
So in conclusion, I couldn't be more pleased with the way The Dunesteef handled "Playable Character", not just because it was my first story, but because they were everything an author wants in a magazine--professional, approachable, and someone who loves what they do. The Dunesteef guys are great. They're funny, they have great rapport with each other, and they talk about interesting things in a casual, approachable way. Everyone should be listening to them.