Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Narrating vs Reading A Story

Quandary, quandary, quandary and I need some input. I listen to a lot of books on Audible. It’s become increasingly clear that a narrator can make or break an audio book (to me). I’m listening to a book now by a well-known author (one of my favorites), whom I will not mention, and I find the narration boring. I heard something the other day that stuck. 

You don’t have to have perfect enunciation to be a narrator.

I have to say I agree. This current narrator is so precise with her words I see visions of Snow White sweetly talking to the animals in the forest. Too perfect.

And…it sounds as if she is reading the book. Maybe that’s what narrators do, but I want someone to be the POV, take on the personality traits, be able to switch tone levels for different characters.

In my mind I envision a good narrator approaching the microphone with the intent of being a good storyteller instead of merely reading the words on the page. 

Am I asking too much?

One thing I did learn after having Saving Gracie, my first book, put on Audible. As a newbie to this end of the industry, I had a narrow vision of what I sought in a narrator. Turned out she did a great job, except for the fact I’m from the south and she’s from the north. This may not sound like much of an issue, but not only did the timing turn out different in her delivery, but the tone of the POV came across way sharper than what I intended.

 Lesson learned...
Thoughts please...

This is April’s blog post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group created by Alex Cavanaugh. To join or learn more, click here.

 Till next month, over and out, and be safe, it's a jungle out there...

One last mention-my favorite narrator is Simon Vance who narrates The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. Now he's a story-teller.


  1. I've not had any experience with audio books, but I've read authors who loved their narrators and others who did not. You make a good point about enunciation. It doesn't have to be perfect. The voice is what is important and I fully agree.

    1. Thanks Christine. I'm wondering how hard the process is going to be. I appreciate the support.

  2. You've touched on one of the reasons I'm scared of audio books. My first experience with one made my heart ache because it was a book by an author I really enjoyed reading. The voice actor only made me laugh at the wrong places. Horrid.

    My next experience was one of my own short stories in an anthology (Beware of the White Rabbit). When the editor turned that book into an audio experience I was petrified. But when I heard my contribution I was totally relieved, in fact, touched. Someone "got" my MC. It's very important to have the right voice to read the story.

    Thanks for stopping in to say hi at The Write Game. I love new visitors. Please come again.

  3. Did you not have an opportunity to listen/interview narrators? Geez, I'm so happy your were pleased with the outcome. To me, there is no better feeling than to have someone "get" the MC, whether a reader or narrator...
    Thanks for the comment and I will stop by again.

    1. Publishers do the choosing of almost everything. I didn't even know my story was going to be part of an audiobook. It turned out great. Just something to be aware of in the future.

  4. I guess a narrator can make or break a book. I love to be immersed to. It's a big ask but I like it when I feel a slight difference in dialogue. I never thought of North vs South or more localised differences that might cause issues. I guess in a way I feel like an audiobook, like a film, to me is a different version of a book. It puts emphasis on things you might not emphasise while reading. I love audiobooks but they definitely feel different to reading in your head for sure...

  5. I definitely agree with the different feeling of audio vs reading. In reading (in my opinion) the reader forms his/her own opinions/scenarios. With an audio book (again, in my opinion) is, like you said, a movie. Much more of the author's intent comes across in audio. Thanks so much for the comment and for dropping by...