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  • Eliza Chan

Narrating

I have been a little negligent with this website and only now realised I did not promote my stints as a narrator!

I have started to listen to podcasts in the last year or so, firstly to see (or hear) what the big deal is, but also because it breaks up the entropy that comes from Radio 4’s obsessive with the minutiae of nothing that is the Brexit negotiations at the moment (don’t even start me). It’s been a great experience on roadtrips, doing the laundry or decorating at home to choose a random fiction podcast and hit play without looking at the author, synopsis or anything. I’ve found some great new authors to follow and heard stories I would not have picked up by choice, but are nonetheless thought-provoking and different.

As a kid I was always the narrator in school plays. I hated it because the other kids got to dress up as angels and stuff but I have learnt that I enjoy reading aloud. Both my own work, and other people’s. I don’t have the theatrical flair of an actor, but I have the confidence and enjoy it.

So when I saw a call for narrators with more diverse accents and backgrounds, I thought, why not. I like that the narrators are not all just American voices. I like the weirdness of hearing people who I follow on Twitter but have never met in real life.  I like that the podcasts have made attempts to find someone with knowledge of a particular language or culture when the story calls for it. And if there’s a niche that calls for female, Chinese and with a Scottish accent? I’ve got that one covered. 🙂

And that’s how I got into narrating for podcasts.

My first was Effie Seiberg’s “Strong as Stone” for Cast of Wonder. I love this wee story, there’s so much pain and warmth in it and it was so easy to take on the main character’s voice. I also WANT this to be the kind of story we are pushing on MG and YA readers today. There’s sadness, but there’s also a lot of hope.

I then narrated for Leah Cypess’s “On the Ship” for StarShipSofa. This story starts deceptively simple but there’s something not quite right and I really enjoyed trying to guess where it would take me. It had me down a Wikipedia rabbit hole at the end and I always appreciate stories that are also educational.

I apologise for the variable sound quality, especially when editing errors as I’m new to this and having nothing fancier than headphones, a mic and a laptop. I seemed to have a melancholy reading voice and it’s very very Scottish (I’m not this Scottish in conversation, bizarrely, but in narration I am Merida from Brave). Really hoping to do some narration for a Scottish setting (but I might panic if you make me do Scots) and hoping to narrate some Asian voices in the future also (throw in a bit of Chinese and Japanese!)

If you are new to fiction podcasts and want to know where to start listening, I highly recommend the Escape Artists family of PodCastle (fantasy), Pseudopod (horror), EscapePod (SF) and Cast of Wonders (YA). EscapePod has just been nominated for a Hugo for best semipro, the first podcasts to have this honour! And the people involved are some of the nicest people I’ve met in real life and online. The District of Wonders is also excellent with Far Fetched Fables (fantasy), StarShipSofa (SF)  and Tales to Terrify (horror). I also love Breaking the Glass slipper for discussions on SFF culture, feminism and writing. It’s a very soothing podcasts that lulls me into thinking I’m having a marvellous geekish discussion with some friends in the pub.

#starshipsofa #podcast #ownvoices #effieseiberg #scottish #castofwonders #narration #leahcypess

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