Saturday, January 18, 2014
Guest Blog:Sharon Hamilton: The Storyteller is a Character in the Story
I had never considered that the narrator would become one of the characters, but after he pointed it out, it was so obvious I wondered why I never thought of it that way.
“The storyteller takes the reader by the hand, pulls them in, strings them along, pushes them forward, dangles them over a cliff, finally, giving them resolution. The storyteller must make a connection with the reader to create empathy. Empathy is achieved by the storyteller becoming a complete and full character, first, and then who performs his job of storytelling, second.”
Isn’t that what we want to hear in a story? We want the speaker to disappear. We want the listener to get into the story, not merely listen to the narrator. We want them inside the story and playing with the characters. In romance, we want the reader to feel the hero’s lips on her flesh.
“The storyteller’s voice is how the storyteller delivers the story to the reader’s ear. Not only does the narrator say what they are reading from the page, but how they say it brings the story to life. Breathes life into the words the way a symphony would play a composer’s work. The author creates the lyrics and the storyteller creates the music.”
This is an artistic relationship/collaboration, in that the combination of the two parts will yield something different than either storyteller or author would give on their own, or find in another collaboration. It is a learned experience, the collaboration, and if it is a good one, grows and gets stronger, just like any relationship.
“Narrating a book is so much like when an actor gets a script for a film. There has to be a common ground understanding between the writer, the actor and the director. They are all working together to bring to life what the writer had envisioned and that is a collaborative effort.”
There are a lot of other points we could share, including the importance of having a trained actor as your narrator, not only for the lead roles, but for all the interesting secondary characters writers have in their books. There are accents, age, points of view to take into account when the narrator “acts” to bring the story to life. There are also audio components like phone calls, intercom or announcer blurbs. Some things in print don’t lend themselves to narration, and some extra narration is needed to clarify certain things that appear in print to give the listener direction they would normally get just by the format of the print word.
We have more material we could post, perhaps at a future date, so if you came away with something new today, let Marianne know and we’ll be back.
We have learned many things after having done three books together. The author sets the tone and gives the descriptions of the characters and the arc of the story, but ultimately the narrator is an actor, taking that direction and bringing his/her own experiences into the story, interpreting the author’s direction just like an actor would on a movie shoot.
I am fortunate to have met and chosen J.D. to produce my audio books. Hearing my hero’s voice come to life is such an amazing experience for me, I encourage everyone to try it. And it has affected my writing, in a positive way. It isn’t for the faint of heart, but then, writing isn’t either. Just like any good performance, where there is collaboration between dancers, scenery, music and other cast members, not everyone will come away with the same perspective and interpretation.
But our job is to delight and surprise the listener, entertain them. It brings a third dimension to a reader’s enjoyment of a good story.
And that is about as satisfying as it gets.
J.D. Hart and I will be available today to answer any questions you might have about this process. We will take the comments, and choose two winners at random. Each of those people will win an audio book of either Accidental SEAL or Fallen SEAL Legacy. But you must make a comment or ask a question. We will attempt to answer all of your questions by stopping by from time to time during the day.
We also have a little treat, a preview of J.D.’s beautiful read of a sex scene from the upcoming book, Cruisin’ For A SEAL, which will be released February 5. You can hear the short piece by clicking here. Our gift to you for showing up.
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.
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J.D. Hart has been stabbed, choked, shot, beaten, poisoned and buried alive as an actor in horror films. He has acted along side scream queens Betsy Palmer, Debbie Rochon, Leslie Easterbrook and the King of screams himself, Friday the 13th Jason Kane Hodder. He has acted in over 22 films and over 5,000 commercials.
J.D. began his career in television at the age of 18 as an on-camera host for TV station WCCB in Charlotte, N.C.
After moving to Nashville, J.D. became an MCA recording artist and a songwriter for Milene Music Group. He penned the theme song for NBC's "Man Of The People" starring James Garner. He also was the vocal artist on several national jingle campaigns including "The Heartbeat Of America" for Chevrolet. Hart also appeared as a TV spokesperson for Chevrolet.
Making the transition from TV to film, he has garnered several awards, including Best Actor. This background in film, TV and theater makes it easy for him to adapt to any style, any character, any accent in his narration.
J.D. is an Audible Approved narrator and producer and has narrated and produced over 54 audio books with a complete professional recording studio he owns.
His voice is often noted for it’s unique blend of passion, believability, grace and fire! His romance novel clients describe it as golden and buttery. J.D.’s resonant, husky and masculine tone makes especially female readers weak at the knees.
He loves to hear from fans and authors.