Writing for the Ear

When we write, we aim to grasp the reader’s’ eye. To steal their attention, to have their eyes rapidly scanning the page, yearning to read what happens next. Here, we write for the eye. But what about writing for the ear, in say the form of a podcast? This is what Jessica Abel and Jonathan Kern teach us in Out on the Wire, which explores the art of radio and broadcasting and how writing comes into play in each.

So, how does one write for the ear? Abel makes the claim, “Narration, it seems, is not as simple as it sounds.” Rightfully so, might I add. What we oftentimes don’t think about when writing is making it conversational. Though, with sound, it needs to be conversational. The narration must flow as a conversation would, so that it is familiar to the listener and can get the message across in a more easily-understandable manner. The narration also needs to be interesting enough to hold the listener’s attention. Like when writing, make sure to hook the listener right from the beginning and hold the suspense throughout. We are speaking to our audience, a.k.a. the listener, so we must ensure we are appealing to them. The major thing is really to just keep it real. And as cliché as that may sound, it’s what is going to make a podcast entertaining. Keep in mind how you would go about holding a real-life conversation. What would that sound like? Don’t think about formalities and just focus on the rawness of it. A podcast is really just a well thought out conversation anyways, isn’t it?