Wood Storks and Audio Dramas

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Wild Literati Pictures presents Wood Stork Foraging for Food

This was cool to see for several reasons. First, Wood Storks are endangered. They have beautiful feathers and nest colonially, which made them a target of the feather industry (for hat feathers). In addition, humans destroyed large portions of their breeding habitat when we changed the way water flows through the southeastern states to create more land appropriate for agriculture and human habitation.

The way this species forages for food is very interesting, and you can see it in the video above. It holds its bill partially open under the water, and snaps it shut when it feels prey moving. This is called tactolocation, and allows the stork to hunt in the dark or in murky water. You can see the bird stir the water with its foot, disturbing prey that might otherwise hide until the stork has passed.

Awesome, isn’t it?

On to other things. I rarely offer actual writing advice, as I’m still new at this and don’t feel particularly qualified to tell other people what will help them succeed. But there is one thing that I haven’t seen or heard anyone in the writing community talk about, but I think has helped me significantly – audio fiction.

I love old radio programs, audio books, and fiction podcasts. Partially, I have trouble doing only one thing at a time. But mostly, I just love stories, and if I can listen to a story while driving, that’s all the better.

How does this help me write? They say “great writers are voracious readers,” and I’m sure the additional exposure to professional-quality fiction doesn’t hurt. But I think it is more than that; I think it helps develop the inner ear.

Too often, we writers become too insulated, and forget that other people have a different voice inside their heads. We read our sentences a particular way and expect everyone else will as well. Having beta readers and critique partners is a great way to spot some of those places in a particular piece. But hearing a story read to you, hearing someone other than yourself interpret the phrasing and rhythm of a story, forces a different perspective. When I read a story, sometimes I catch myself mentally rearranging sentences in a way that is more pleasing to me, or how I would write them. But when I’m listening, I accept the way it is told without meddling.

So I’d encourage you to listen to some audio fiction, if you don’t already. It can help train your ear for voice, dialogue, and style.

Or it seems so to me, anyway!

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4 thoughts on “Wood Storks and Audio Dramas

  1. Great advice about the audio dramas. You might already do this for your own work, but one of the last things I do for my stories is read them into my computer mic and play them back, listening as if I hadn't written them. For recording, I either use the sound recorder that came with my laptop or Audacity, which is open source. It's great for being able to objectively listen to the rhythm of the words and the pacing. – Christy

  2. Nice blog post, Steph. When I drove more, I used to get audio books from the Library and play them as I went. Short story collections by George RR Martin and Neil Gaiman were amazing. I got story ideas off of their story ideas or just from snippets of phrases. I need to get back to doing that more often.

    What pod casts do you listen to?

  3. I will look into those short story collections, they sound great!

    My fiction favorites are:
    Lightspeed Magazine
    Drabblecast (Best Eps 171-172, “Mongoose”)
    Clarkesworld
    Podcastle
    Pseudopod (but I skip some of those 'cause I'm a wimp)
    Variant Frequencies, when it was active
    Escape Pod (the older stuff, when Steve Eley was host, is some of my absolute favorites, but is still good)

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