Mar 21, 2009

Audio Tip: Get Your Readers Lost

You know that TV show Lost? It has a crazy plot. The narrative is all over the place. Nobody knows what's going on. And that's exactly why people love it.

Amy O'Leary's big point for writing audio: forget the nut graf.

Our brains are primed to decode complicated narrative, she says. People like having that kind of work to do. Just look at Lost.

You can backfill later. Throw out your best quote, O'Leary says, and win your listeners in the first 15 seconds.

The point of an audio piece is to convey character and emotion, O'Leary says. Those are its strengths. Text is better for conveying the nitty-gritty of the issue: the facts, the analysis, the fine points. Audio's not so hot in this area. You want the full story, you need print. But audio can get people to care about the story--it provides the atmospherics.

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