Teaching Audio, part 2 -- Writing for the Ear
I like to refer to broadcast writing as informational poetry. I also like the rule of the 3 Cs, clear, concise and correct. Here's a list of dos and dont's, as well as helpful links to write for the ear.
DO's: Be simple, conversational, use the active voice, use descriptive writing , one thought per sentence (unlike here), use short words and short sentences, powerful verbs, round off numbers (unless you really need a precise number), write out symbols like dollars (rather than $), put attributions at beginning of sentences, use lots of transitional words (now, next, still, then,when, finally, today, tomorrow), talk it out while you write, use verbs ending with ing (ex: Banks are charging ... rather than banks charge), use the present perfect (Rescuers have pulled ... rather than just pulled)...
DONT's: Avoid complexity, words you don't normally use, unusual words, content with information you don't fully understand, too many numbers, too many cooks, places, people, subjects in a sentence, awkward phrasing, negative constructions, attribution at end of sentences, passive constructions, the verb "to be", which confirms being with no action, (example: It was windy outside ...A gust howled and shrieked in the courtyard), starting sentences with "and" or "but", too many "s" words in one sentence, homonyms, using "that" and "which", starting sentences with phrases, cliches, jargon, tongue twisters, words you know you can't pronounce (unless necessary to the story and then you learn how to pronounce them), hyperbole, extreme titles...
Here's what happens when you don't know how to pronounce an important word ...
HOW TO HANDLE QUOTES IN BROADCAST WRITING
Lots of students also have trouble handling quotes in broadcast writing. Since you can't hear quotation marks from a piece of paper, a broadcaster should write into his/her script something like .... in his/her own words ... or quote / unquote ... but keep the quote very short (three-four words) and important, or else why waste your time with the quote. If the quote is longer, it will also be quickly unclear from whom those words came from. Also, when using a person's audio, don't forget to transcribe the entire quote into your script.
LINKS TO PRACTICE AND BECOME A BETTER BROADCAST WRITER
Here are links to some really good writing exercises
And here's a series of very helpful links, all of them extensive lessons on perfecting the art of writing for the ear:
If you found this tutorial useful, check out other installments. Here's the full list of chapters from my audio tutorials:
Teaching Audio -- Instilling Passion
Teaching Audio part 1 -- Recording Audio
Teaching Audio part 2 -- Writing for the Ear
Teaching Audio part 3 -- Audio Editing
Teaching Audio part 4 -- Sound Effects, Using Music and Audio Libraries
Teaching Audio part 5 -- Anchor Leads, News Writing, Judgment and Features
Teaching Audio part 6 -- Voicing
Teaching Audio part 7 -- On the Scene Reporting
Teaching Audio part 8 -- Interviews
Teaching Audio part 9 -- Newscasts and Stacking the News
Teaching Audio part 10 -- Commercials
Teaching Audio part 11 -- Raising Your Game
Teaching Audio part 12 -- Podcasting Intro
Teaching Audio part 13 -- Window Dressing
Teaching Audio part 14 -- Podcast Lists
Teaching Audio part 15 -- Big Podcasts, Little City
Teaching Audio part 16 -- Listening to Podcasts and Publishing your Own
Teaching Audio, part 17 -- Joining Podcast Communities
Teaching Audio, part 18 -- Podcasting for PR
Teaching Audio, part 19 -- Promoting Your Podcast
Teaching Audio, part 20 -- Making Money in Podcasting
Teaching Audio, part 21 -- Building a Career in Audio