Narrating a story is considered an artform. It involves more than just standing in front of an audience and telling the story. While virtually everyone can tell a story, a great narrator should go a step further and make the audience lose themselves in the story. This requires additional artistic skills such as the ability to do voice overs as well as acting talents. There is no doubt that the art of storytelling has evolved over time. In fact, scholars believe that before the Middle Ages, people had a habit of reading text out loud. Some aspects of traditional oral narration are still found in modern civilization which is why some of the American storytellers we see in a place like Nashville, TN are a reincarnation of traditional oral narration techniques. So what qualities should you look for in a storyteller that will bring your audiobook into life?
Great Articulating Skills
Articulation during narration should be as natural as possible. Under-articulation of the story make the narrator appear lazy and unintelligent. However, over-narration makes the story appear made up. This means that a good narrator should know how to balance the two extremes. More importantly, the narrator should be in a position to seamlessly adjust the story to suit specific needs.
Know when to use an Accent
Every person has their own specific accent. The only difference is the degree in which the accents occur in different people. Excellent narrators should know when and how to take their own accents from the story. Individual accents can be replaced by an acquired accent in line with the plot of the story as well as the character you are mimicking. Even with your original accent, you can use a Sam Elliott voice that mimics a cowboy’s voice from a story whose plot is in Nashville, TN.
Good voice actors know and understand when to speed through the dialogue when describing an action scene or when to pause or slow down just to let the words sink in. The pauses and breaths give the character in the story a human touch. However, the pacing and pauses should occur naturally in the story. It is worth stating that exaggerating pace is one of the things that a professional narrator will probably be looking to avoid.
Effective character differentiation
An excellent narrator is one who is able to incorporate effective character visualization into the text. This means a good narrator has to develop ways that distinctively differentiate one character from the other. This, however, may not require a lot of effort... as you simply have to make subtle changes to your voice so that the audience can identify the various characters in the story. The better the narrator can shift back and forth as needed like this, the better the overall narration will make the whole story flow.