My high school and college both had a technology class requirement, and I chose to fulfill both by taking basic programming courses. Honestly, it seemed more fun than several weeks of having basic terminology explained to me. I took three classes total. My high school class focused on teaching the basics of Turbo Pascal (because I’m that old). I did well enough in the class to pull out a decent score on the AP test. As a result, the first course I took in college was a bit of a refresher.
The second course, however, was more interesting. We spent the semester switching over to object-oriented programming in C++, leaning by first designing and implementing the project in Turbo Pascal and then learning how to design the same project in C++. It seems redundant, but what we really ended up learning was how to view processes when developing programming, a skill we could carry on to learn other languages, be they programming or markup.
I’ve written things other than code most of my life. The writing cycle is as natural to me as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Prepare, write, edit, publish. Repeat. So, when I started narrating audiobooks, it took me longer than it should have to realize it was pretty much the same process as writing, just a different medium and set of tools.
Regardless of the medium, it all starts with preparing the project.
As a writer, the moment of prep comes when an idea grows too large to be left alone any more. I make notes, writing down absolutely everything I’m thinking about. I add in notes from my Percolator (what I call my swipe file/brainstorming file). I play with ideas, eventually pulling them into an outline of sorts. (Sometimes, it’s an actual outline). If there are things that need to be researched, I take care of that…sometimes to the point of delaying the project a bit in favor of all the pretty rabbit holes. *wink* But by the time I’ve finished preparing to write a story, I have enough of a foundation laid out to successfully start writing.
As a voice actor, the moment of prep comes when the script hits my hands. I’ve been fortunate so far in that I’ve nearly always been given the full script (I always have the full manuscript for audiobooks) and have had time to sit down and read the entire thing. (It really does help.) For audiobooks, I open my notebook to the next available page and start a pronunciation guide. If it’s a series, I make a note of what characters are returning so I can pull up those reference files to reacquaint myself with those voices. If it’s an audiobook I’m producing, I’ll also write the blurb and create the cover when I’m finished reading. For audio dramas, I read the script on my Kindle, highlight my lines (bookmarking pages where my highlighter won’t work) and review my audition so I can reconnect with the voice. By the time I’m finished, I’m set up to make decent use of my very limited recording time.
Regardless of the medium, once I have my prep work done, I add the project (with detailed notes for the production process) to its own queue in GQueues, and then I add the project with a checklist of major milestones to Habitica. And then I usually go to bed so I can face the next part well rested and with fresh eyes.