Writing A Story for Audio

Submitting to a Podcast: Writing A Story for Audio

Writing A Story for Audio

Do you know you can submit your stories to a podcast? I’ve been listening to fantasy and horror story podcasts for months. Submitting to them only just recently. It looks as if a few might be always open. Like magazines, having your story turned into an audio drama seems to be a good way to gain exposure. Before we hit submit, is there a difference between writing for reading and writing a story for audio?

Listen to Podcasts

This may seem obvious but people don’t do the proper research before submitting their story. I’ve listed a few horror podcasts in a previous post.

Jump Right into the Action

Some of the plays we read had a great opening scene, but didn’t push forward the story enough through the rest of the play. Some plays we read were more like novels and used too much narration.

BBC: Ten tips for writing a play for radio

Sounds similar to writing short stories. With 5,000 words or less, you don’t have a lot of time to set up the world and characters. You can’t frontload your story with a lot of world building exposition. Actually, I’ve never listened to a podcast that went too deep into describing how to world worked. They were all character or event focused.

Realistic Dialogue

It’s so important to have dialogue that sounds natural. Audience will be filtering it through their “reality filter” – is this how people actually talk? Be honest to your world, but if you’re writing something contemporary, be sure to make it natural sounding. 

How to Write a Killer Podcast Script

Books and movies sometimes get away with conversations that would never happen in real life. But, it seems that won’t work for audio.

Read Your Story Out loud

When I say read it out loud, actually stand and really articulate every sentence and make sure it feels right to the mouth and it lands well. 

The Creative Penn: Writing for Audio with Jules Horne

Back in college, I used to read my essay’s out loud to check for any grammatical errors. Now, I have my Kindle read the stories to me. It does make sense to perform your story before submitting it. You need to make sure it’ll be good as an audio drama.

Use short and simple sentences

“Remember, time goes in only one direction; listeners can’t go back to try to figure out who or what you were talking about at the beginning of your voice track.”

NPR Training: ‘Would you say it that way?’ Tips on writing for your voice

A bit like writing for a blog but for different reasons. In blogging, you want short sentences so your post remains scannable.

There seems to be a little difference between writing for reading and writing a story for audio. I tend to create large casts. Apparently, that’s not going to work in audio. Our stories need to be simple yet still engaging.

Do you have any advice for writers looking to submit their stories to a podcast? Comment below.

More Resources

Writing for Audio: Understanding Attunement

Writing for Audio – 6 Top Tips from a Radio Professional

Mary’s tricks for writing fiction for audio