Writing with Inform Audiobook - Request for Feedback

Did you hear that IFTF awarded me a grant to produce some chapters from Writing with Inform as an audiobook???

Well, they did. I’m working on recording the first three chapters, because the book says: “These notes are arranged so that the reader can, in principle, write whole works of fiction as early as the end of Chapter 3.” Let me tell you about my approach:

ON ONE HAND, the primary impetus for this project is to make Writing with Inform (and thereby Inform itself) more accessible for authors with vision disabilities. I don’t know a lot about text-to-speech technology, but I understand that screen readers generally are not designed to transmit certain fine points of punctuation and whitespace that are critical for well-formed Inform code. I want an audio presentation of Writing with Inform to convey these elements in a helpful way.

ON THE OTHER HAND, I hope this can be a resource for authors in general, for people who aren’t using screen readers but prefer audiobooks over reading from a computer screen, or people like myself who just enjoy the sound of my voice. This means that I don’t want to edit Writing with Inform to serve anyone’s needs in particular; I want to translate it as faithfully as I can. In a helpful way. But there’s an exception to this.

I’ve put together a couple of examples that I’d like your feedback on. Please let me know if there’s any way I could improve my approach to better serve your needs, whatever they may be.

I already have one piece of feedback for myself: The musical backdrops for “you’re listening to code” and “you’re listening to output” are probably too similar. I was in a hurry to post this request for feedback. I plan to compose a couple tracks that will be somewhat nicer and easier to distinguish—but roughly as boring as what you hear in these examples.


I’d imagine, but don’t know for sure, that nesting tabs could be tricky for many vision impaired authors. The “begin” and “end” syntax from 11.7 could potentially be much clearer, and converting all code examples in the docs to using that syntax might be really helpful. Or maybe nested tabs aren’t actually much of an issue at all.

The sound cues seem quite effective to me.


Thank you! I hadn’t thought about begin/end in years. It makes A LOT more sense for this.


Suggestion: instead of (or in addition to) using music to denote the different types, maybe have different voices (not your voices, unless you want to, but enlist a couple friends to be “code” and “output”) or say “code” … “end code” and “output” … “end output”. While listening to your example, I would hear the end of a code segment, but the music would keep going. I assumed that you just forgot to end the music, and the natural language-like code didn’t convince me otherwise until I had to shift my brain to remember, “no that’s still code”.


This might be down to the way I faded out the music, sometimes with an overlong tail.


I would like to pronounce all the names in the acknowledgements as correctly as I can. I feel confident about most of them, but not the names in this list:

  • Philip Chimento
  • Mark Musante
  • @Juhana Leinonen
  • @DavidC Cornelson
  • L. Ross Raszewski
  • Paul Mazaitis

If you are any of these people, or know how best to pronounce any of their names, please let me know. (Please also let me know if there are names in the acknowledgements I didn’t mention that are harder to pronounce than they look.)

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Audio file. Just click it.



ZAI rhymes with “sigh,” right?


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Yes. But if I’d written ZIGH it wouldn’t have helped. :)


tbh, following Italian common wisdom (“ascolto e dimentico, leggo e imparo, faccio e capisco”, in English “I hear and forgot, I read and learn, I do and understand”) I’m under the impression that a braille book is perhaps a more effective learning tool for blind people…
(DISCLAIMER: I’m deaf, so I’m somewhat partial toward this Italian saying…)

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


True, but it is much harder for sighted people to write books in Braille than to record an audiobook.

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Braille books are expensive to produce, would take as much effort to typeset as it would for ink printing (which hasn’t even been done yet), and are only usable by some vision impaired people.


Not to mention much more difficult to get to people! Sending an audiobook halfway across the world is much easier than a physical volume.