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Write for the Ear

Write for the Ear

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Published by Kenyon Stanley

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Published by: Kenyon Stanley on Sep 08, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Tips for “writing for the ear” (audio scripting)
In some ways, writing for the ear requires the same skillsas any other format. The ABCs -- Accuracy, Brevity, andClarity -- always mark quality writing. Although most of uslearn not to move our lips as we read, we still "hear"ourselves reading in our heads, and so things like rhythmand rhyme and alliteration always matter.But speeches, radio copy, commercials -- anything thatultimately aims at an audience who will hear the finalversion rather than read it -- also have some uniquerequirements.1. Use conversational language.Write
like you talk. Audio narration should soundlike someone is TALKING to you, NOT READING to you. If youwrite something that "sounds" like you're reading it whenyou say it out loud, it's wrong.Use active verbs. Use contractions. Use sentence fragments.Use familiar vocabulary. All these attributes characterizeconversational language.
Yesterday, following a luncheon, the Mayor delivered anaddress to the student body.The Mayor talked to the students yesterday after lunch.
2. Use active verbs.Active verbs are better for listeners. They are clearer,more direct, and easier to understand.
The boy was hit by the car.
Who did the action? The car. What did it do? It hit. Whodid it hit? The boy. So it would be much easier for alistener to understand if you just said it more directly.
The car hit the boy.
It's short and direct.3. Keep sentences short.
Listeners can't go back and re-read a long or confusingsentence. Use short sentences with a basic subject-verb-object structure. Avoid compound or complex sentences.
 My grandmother, who came to America when she was a littlegirl, told me yesterday that she still remembers the firsttime she saw the Statue of Liberty, which she said made hercry, but I'm not sure why. My grandmother came to America when she was a little girl.Yesterday she told me she still remembers the first timeshe saw the Statue of Liberty. She said it made her cry.But I'm not sure why.
4. Prefer the present tense.5. Use short words.Simpler is better. Use a simple, basic vocabulary. How canyou make something simpler by using smaller words?
Cathy declared she really liked chocolate.
"Said" worksjust as well as "declared," but it is one syllable shorter and crisper.
 Gene attempted to purchase a new camera.
"Tried to buy" isthree syllables shorter than "attempted to purchase
,” and 
it is easier to understand aurally.
Readers can stop to look up unfamiliar words and come backto the same place; listeners
. You can find a list ofthe 500 most common words at http://www.world-english.org/english500.htm).6. Use the personal and intimate "you" and "I" forms ofverbs. Directly addressing your audience is the most basicform of interactivity.8. Avoid parenthetical statements, since they're difficultfor the ear to handle. People can hear certain punctuationeasily. Periods. Even commas. Not parentheses. Breakparentheses into separate sentences or leave them out.9. Paraphrase more, quote less. When you use a directquote, give credit at the beginning of the sentence.

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