Thursday, September 29

A Cynic's Guide to Audio Books

Ten Steps to Narrating and Producing a Top Notch Audio Book

1. Speak in a monotone voice. Text is open to interpretation. You do not want to disturb the listener’s experience by colouring the narrative with any inflections or emotions. You are the GPS of a story…guiding the reader…poorly…through a journey…of immense frustration.

2. Never check the pronunciation of words or names. Don’t ask the author, don’t ask google, don’t ask a linguist. It doesn’t matter if the character who is speaking should know how these words and names are pronounced, just guess and go with it. Your reader is probably so ignorant, they won’t notice.

3. Change a character’s accent throughout a book or series. If you read a character with a Scottish accent earlier, switch to an English dialect later on. It’s all British anyway.

4. For a white, male character, use an accent that is accurate to his nationality. For characters of other genders and ethnicities, fall back on caricatures and stereotypes.

5. If you are a female narrator, make sure that you make all teenage boys sound like cartoon characters. It’s all voice acting, right?

6. If you’re a male narrator, make sure that all women have super high pitched voices. ALL women’s voices are higher than ALL men’s voices.

7. Use sound effects to add to the atmosphere of the story. Make sure you play the same piece of music right before a significant event takes place in the book, so as to remove all possible suspense or surprise.

8. Never listen to your previous work. If you are continuing work on a series, the worst thing you can do is listen to an earlier title. Instead, throw continuity to the wind. Just try to recollect how each character’s voice sounded and make it up as you go. Let’s be honest, no one who listens to you narrate book three will have listened to you narrate book one.

9. It doesn’t matter if you have no acting abilities whatsoever, butcher the pace and tension of the story, or if every character sounds exactly the same. All you need to narrate audio books is a pleasant sounding voice.

10. When editing, make sure that you can hear the background noise, leave long unnecessary pauses that make the reader wonder if part of the story has been accidentally deleted, and ensure that your narration is loud in one part and then much softer in the next.

Now go forth and narrate audio books! Anyone can do it.

Yours,

A Cynic


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