The Voiceover Project > The Voiceover Project Resources & Tips - Writing

Voiceover-Driven Writing Resource for the The VO Project

By aszarkowski

This is just a document with some helpful tips to consider when writing voiceover-driven pieces. If you have any suggestions for me to add to the list, let me know!:) I'll be tweaking this time and time again...

Also, if you'd like to release possible directional notes for voiceover artists to consider when doing their reading, PLEASE DO!! So helpful :)

Tips are pulled from a variety of resources, including:

The Learning Coach



Write like you speak / Keep it natural

In most cases, writing for the ear is more informal than writing to be read. You may find that it improves your style if you imagine that you are speaking to someone while you are writing. When you write like you speak, you will naturally use smaller words, contractions, a more conversational tone and shorter sentences. 

Write like you’re telling a story to a friend

Communication is essentially storytelling. Frame your copy the same way you would frame a story to a friend. Pretend like you’re trying to tell them something in an e-mail, where writing is less formal and more conversational. The best stories have a clear message, moral or call to action.

Get to the point

When you’re writing for audio, you don’t have much time to lead up to the point. You have to get there quickly before you lose your audience. Focus on what’s most important by using straightforward wording. Think of it as intelligent simplicity.

Read your writing aloud

That’s how you can determine whether the wording is awkward or smooth and whether the sentences flow from one to the next. Reading aloud helps you know when it’s best to use contractions, if juxtaposed words are difficult to pronounce and whether the whole piece is well-connected.

Pay attention to rhythm

Speaking is similar to music—it’s got a rhythm related to the tempo of the speech and the alternation of stressed and unstressed words. When you read your script aloud, you can improve the rhythm by considering the words as sounds and listening to their flow and timing. A pleasing rhythm has the potential to hold the listener’s attention longer and to enhance the listening experience.

Consider length and timing

You don’t want things to run on and on. A rule of thumb for calculating time is that in one minute, a narrator will read approximately 100 words.

Use silence effectively

Silence is to audio as white space is to visuals. You can work brief pauses into your script by indicating where the voiceover artist should stop for a moment (often referred to as a beat) during the recording. I usually indicate this with an ellipsis (…).

Voiceover-Driven Writing Resource for the The VO Project

Created: Mar 23, 2016


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