Audiobook Week Discussion: What Makes a Good Narrator?
Today’s Audiobook Week topic is: What Makes a Good Narrator?
Who are your favorite narrators and why? What do you look for in a narrator? Have a preference between male or female narrators?
As has come up over and over again this week, narrators can make or break an audiobook. Talk about high pressure! I’ve been pretty lucky with the books I’ve listened to so far, and have found some narrators that I will follow to any genre. I’m in awe of audiobook narrators and all the work they put into creating the best audiobook possible.
These are a few things that I look for in a narrator:
I want the narrator to bring the story to life and give me an experience that I couldn’t have with the book. I want to be so hooked on the story that I’m inventing ways to keep listening.
Since I listen to a lot of YA books, I think it’s important to have a narrator that sounds age appropriate to the story. It’s distracting to me when the voice isn’t the right fit for the character.
I like when the narrators use distinct character voices in their reading, and to be consistent with those voices. I can’t imagine how hard this is to do, especially when there are characters of different genders, ages, accents, etc. When this is done well I can get fully immersed in the story and forget about the narration, as it were.
A good narrator will be very familiar with the book and do the appropriate research. Talk to the author about their intent for the story, characters, pronunciation, and other nuances.
Read with the appropriate emotional intensity without going overboard. It’s a fine line, and my favorite narrators are able to ramp up the intensity to match the tone of the story.
Connect with the material and make it believable. Nice to have: If there is singing in the book it’s great if the narrator can sing the lines as well. Commit to the character.
I don’t have a preference as to male or female narrator, as long as they are right for the story it doesn’t matter. Most of the audiobooks I listen to tend to have female narrators though by chance.
Some of my favorite narrators so far are:
What is most important to you in a narrator and who are your favorites?