Writing for Audio – 6 Top Tips from a Radio Professional – From the Alli Blog


by Jules Horne on March 27, 2019 in Writing A Book

headshot of Jules Horne

Creative writing tutor Jules Horne helps you write your books with audio in mind

Interested in publishing your book as an audiobook?It’s the fastest-growing publishing market, and a great opportunity for indie authors, but most know little about audio-first writing techniques. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, a few cunning radio writing techniques can really help your script to shine – and your narrator and listeners will thank you! Jules Horne, author of Writing for Audiobooks: Audio-First for Flow & Impact, shares six radio editing tipsto help you get your writing ready for audiobooks.

Producing an audiobook is expensive, and with just a bit of editing work before your manuscript is sent to the studio or voice artist, you’ll get a better, more ear-friendly result that helps your narrator to deliver a more powerful performance. These tips are drawn from my background in BBC radio and spoken word writing – I hope you find them useful!

1.    Simplify your writing for audiobooks

Audio is a linear medium. The recording whizzes by and if listeners don’t catch something, it’s gone. With print and ebooks, readers can easily scan the text and check back. With audio, this is far less likely. What’s more, listeners can be listening in all sorts of situations, usually multitasking and in less-than-optimum technical quality. Writing for radio calls for great clarity and economy (which is good writing, to be fair – only far, far more so!)

Try this:

Imagine your listener as a dog-walking, child-wrangling, commuter wearing tiny earbud headphones. Or (radio flashback) a shortwave listener with a crackly radio in a log cabin in the woods. Write with the clarity you need to get through to them. Bigger, bolder, stronger verbs, tight precision. And then…

2.    Read your writing aloud

Radio thrives on shorter sentences, and a writing voice more aligned to the spoken word and an informal register. Some writers naturally do this, and have a strong focus on rhythm, pace, and sonic effects. Which is great news if you want to get into audiobooks!

Most, though, have a writing voice that’s more formal and literary than their spoken voice, with longer sentences, “which” clauses, long subordinate clauses, asides and backflips. This is fine in print and ebooks – less so for audio. Note: voice artists are true artists, and great ones can make even the telephone directory sound enticing. You may fall in love with your book in their beautifully resonant/gravelly/seductive voice. But don’t be seduced by smoke and mirrors! With a true audio-friendly script, they’ll love you back, enjoy recording your book, and deliver a far better result.

Read the rest of this post HERE.

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