When would need a narration fiction script? Well, for example, you are planning to publish a work of fiction as an audiobook. Or, you are planning to present it through the currently extremely popular medium that is a podcast. On the other hand, you may have decided to couple it with a video presentation or your fictional story has a lot of narrative elements. Elements that have to be presented by a voice actor/narrator. For all the above purposes, you have prepared a narrative fiction script.
In essence, sounds quite simple. You give the voice actor/narrator the text and she/he reads it. Or you yourself decide to do it. But, as is usually the case, those things that seem to be simplest to do usually turn out to be the most complex ones to execute.
As you may have noticed if you have searched through our BunnyStudio blog, there are a number of different narration scripts, all depending on your particular needs. Still, if you just consider the narration fiction script, there is a difference and specifics that you have to consider, depending on the manner in which you want to present it. It is certainly not the same thing if you want to present a narration fiction script for an audiobook or a podcast compared to such a script that you want to fit into a video/film presentation.
Here are some general characteristics, specifics, as well as 60, 30, and 15 reading examples. Hopefully, they can help you get the right idea for your upcoming fiction project.
Narration fiction script – basic shared characteristics
If you have already tried your hand at writing or adapting a narration fiction script, you may have noticed one thing. As FilmScriptwriting.com, puts it, “it is the narrative description which takes up the bulk of your script. The narrative description describes the story within your screenplay. This includes action, settings, characters, and sounds.”
Also, “a narrative recounts a sequence of events, offers readers clear details and, typically, delivers a compelling message.” (Here) A narration fiction script for ‘a regular’ feature or short film “s ALWAYS written in the present tense. Even if you’re writing a flashback or other sequence regarding past events you should always write in the present tense. The reason behind this is that you view a movie in the present time.” (FilmScriptwriting above) On the other hand, presenting a work of fiction as a narrative script in its integral form follows the wording of the original.
Technically, there are some general rules when you transfer a narrative script to an audio recording. It simply takes a certain amount of time to read a specific number of words. This might not be crucial if you are preparing an audiobook, but it certainly is if you are recording a podcast or a video/film. In the latter case, you would certainly need to know at least the approximate number of words in your narration script.
According to Learning Solutions Magazine, these are some of the estimates of how long it takes to read a certain amount of words:
- Fifteen minutes: 2,700 words
- Thirty minutes: 5,500 words
- Sixty minutes: 9,500 words
“These are merely estimates, but on the whole, you can expect one minute of recorded audio to encompass approximately 170 words.”
Differences between a narration script and a story
Very often, the uninitiated can confuse a script, particularly a narrative script, and a story. For our purposes, there is no confusion if you are presenting an entire work of fiction in any shape or form. But, if it is a script that includes dialogue or a book adaptation there is certainly a difference. This is particularly true if you are writing or adapting a script that includes images or is presented as a film.
As explained here, a script can be defined as the written text of a play, film, or broadcast. A script provides a detailed account of each and every character. It allows the actor to comprehend the nature of the character, etc. Also, you should write script in dialogue form and is in the present tense. A script contains various scenes. In each scene, the climate is very well described. The performance of the actor, his lines, and movements are all explained clearly.
“Unlike in the case of a story where a lot is left to the imagination of the reader, in a script everything has been stated. There is very little room for imagination. A script can be inspired by a story. In such an instance, the scriptwriter tries to capture the mood of the book through his script. In the production of films, the script works as an outline since a number of mediums are intertwined.”
Unlike a script, we can define a story as an account of imaginary or real events.”In this sense, a story is a journey where the reader unravels new information about the characters as well as the story. Also, a story is in prose. It is not all dialogue. There may be snatches of dialogues to make the story more interesting, but mostly it is in prose form.”
Preparing a narration fiction script for a podcast
As an example, let us take a look at a narrative script for a narrative podcast. As Learning Solutions (above) explains, a narrative podcast is telling a story. So, “writing your script with basic narrative elements is important. It’s often easiest to plan out the spine of your narrative and then fill in content around your story.”
To do that, the potential author of the scrip should focus on including the basic elements of dramatic structure:
- Story arc: beginning, middle, and an end to your story;
- Exposition: the introduction of background information, such as setting and backstories;
- Conflict: situations where characters experience a challenge or must overcome some adversity;
- Climax: a turning point for the characters’ story; the beginning of overcoming the conflict;
- Denouement: resolution to the conflict.
Every fictional story includes a character or a set of characters. “The richness of a narrative podcast’s characters is a way you can connect with your audience and get them invested in your story…developing your characters will give them a level of depth that can help your audience to care about and connect with them.”
If your script includes conversational dialogue, “your characters need to feel like real people, which means they need to talk like real people. Conversational writing needs to flow naturally, not sound artificial, or like a voiceover.” This is the case even if the voice actors read the script.
To make the story come across as real as possible, podcast listeners have to visualize the scenes in the script. “Use descriptive terms to set your scenes and inform the audience where events are taking place. This can be done either by a narrator or in the way that your characters speak or think. You can also use audio clues to help set your scenes, things such as background noises and sound effects.”
Narration fiction scripts – examples
Reading about all the elements of a narration fiction script above is one thing, listening to specific examples is another. Hearing how a certain fictional text sounds as a narration fiction script is another. Here we present you three examples of such scripts/audiobooks in 60, 30, and 15-second examples for each.
The first example is for a possible audiobook presentation. The excerpts are from “A Salty Piece of Land” by Jimmy Buffett (Little, Brown, 2004).
- 60 -second example
“It all simply comes down to good guys and bad guys. As a kid, I wanted to be like Roy Rogers, the good-guy cowboy of all time. Roy and his horse, Trigger, would go riding through the movies, helping those in peril while never seeming to sweat, get a scratch, or wrinkle a pair of perfectly creased blue jeans. When the day was over, they would join the Sons of Pioneers by the campfire and sing the sun to sleep. Now that is what I called the perfect job.
One day, long ago in another place and another time, I was playing out my fantasy of being Roy with my childhood pals in the rolling hills above Heartache, Wyoming, where I was raised.” (124 words)
- 30-second example
“We were racing our horses, bat-out-of-hell style, through the aspen grove that led to our little ranch. Like a true daredevil, I passed my friends in a wild sprint to the finish line, and once I had the lead, I turned around to admire my move as the leader of the pack.” (55 words)
- 15-second example
“The next thing I remembered was waking up on the ground, my head covered with blood, my left arm pointing in the wrong direction, and pain – lots of pain – shooting through my young body.” (34 words)
“Desiderata” is a well-known narrative poem, that cites life advice.
- 60-second example
“ Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.” (111 words)
- 30-second example
“Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.” (66 words)
- 15-second example
“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.”
Here is an example of a narration fiction script for an online audio presentation under the title “Freedom.”
- 60-second sample
“Freedom. is it possible?
Freedom from addictions?
Freedom from your past?
Freedom from your problems?
Sometimes you think you’re free, but if you truly were, then why do you still struggle with the same things over and over and over.
You fight battles. You keep searching. You try out all the programs. And you’re still stuck. You aren’t truly free. You want real freedom, but you just can’t get it. Until now.
We had the same questions and struggles as you. We got fed up with our false ideas of freedom and set out on a journey to discover the real thing.
It took a long time, but we found it. And now we’re sharing it.” (116 words)
- 30-second sample
“Over the last two years we’ve taken what we’ve found and put it into a comprehensive package, so you can discover it too.
It’s a book to read, an interactive guidebook to journal in, and an extensive video series to wrestle with.
This isn’t self-help and it isn’t a bunch of bullet-pointed easy answers.”
- 15-second sample
“It isn’t a guy with perfect hair and reassuring smile talking to a camera and telling you everything will be ok.
If you are looking for that stuff, you’ll just have to keep looking. But you won’t find freedom.”