Don’t Write, Tell

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Last fall, I heard a story on NPR about flood insurance and I thought “Oh dear. This is going to be humdrum.”

Noel King produced the story for Planet Money. She’s a reporter there. And even she agrees. National Flood Insurance Policy is not a riveting topic. But, despite that, Noel nailed it. Her three-and-a-half-minute piece was a great listen.

Why? Her writing. Only she says it’s not writing, it’s telling. Noel says if you sit down at a computer and start writing a radio story, there’s a good chance it’ll sound just like that, writing. Instead, for radio, a narrator should sound like they’re telling a story. In fact, she goes so far to say that the narrator should even feel what they’re saying. Not too much, of course! But some.

On this episode of HowSound, Noel dissects the story she wrote — told, rather — and how she came to approach her writing for radio as telling.

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