Don’t Let The Unknown Scare You To Death…Or Into Making A Bad Decision

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Hey there, hero!

I just followed up with a client, who had announced she’d decided to refuse to narrate a book because of the number of characters she’d have to keep track of, voice-wise.

I asked how many, expecting a high two- or three-digit number.

(The record is held by the late Roy Dotrice, who voiced 224 different characters in his 2004 narration of A Game of Thrones.)

The number she gave me was unnerving to me. Here’s why.

Hope this helps!



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  1. So true David. My first book was 24.5 hours long and was FULL of MALE characters. I lost count but there were at least 60. The main character was female and she was one of a small number of females on a naval ship with loads of male officers and enlisted men. The story also included her family and friends. You’re correct that you “know” the characters so well that you tune into and express them by their personalities more so than what you’ve recorded on a spread sheet. Also taking a snippet of their voice and filing it in the ASSETS file of your cool file keeping method helped me recall characters who only appeared intermittently throughout the story.

  2. I was once in your client’s shoes – or place behind the mic as the case may be. It seemed overwhelming at first to do my first fantasy novel because there were so many voices that needed to be distinct and I was so new, I didn’t know where to find them in me. But find them I did, and I’ve loved it ever since.

    I’ve had to create the voices of fairies, demons, dragons, dragon queens, talking dogs and cats, humans and their accents from all over the planet or some other planet. I become so familiar with the characters that eventually I don’t even have to think about what they sound like. The name comes up and the voice is just there. When I first began the Unexpected Enlightenment series by L. Jagi Lamplighter, I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of school students from all over her world (Magical Australia? with a Russian descended Princess – what would that voice sound like? Lucky the dragon?) I was going to have to give a voice to. I kept detailed notes at first, and the author kindly emailed me pictures she keeps in her profiles of her characters (there are so many even the author keeps a detailed profile on everyone).

    Interestingly, to me at least, a few of the character voices that I love the most have come in handy in other areas of VO, when a client says, “We need a young female voice that sounds excitable and sounds happy.’ Oh, they want Joy O’Keef’s voice. It makes me happy that the hard work I have put into the fantasy and sci-fi audiobook characters has paid off in other ways, too.

    It is always a good idea to stretch yourself a little beyond your comfort zone, because you can’t move any further from where you are unless you are willing to give something new and a little scary a try. Typically you look back and say, what was I so afraid of? this isn’t so bad!

  3. I totally get this video and understand the concerns. For me your teaching about mindset is so helpful. Its helped me calm down the stress I feel, think clearly about the challenge ahead, and make a plan for success. The stress usually faded. But also, it helps protect you in case you see that, yes, this is an unrealistic challenge I know is wise for me to turn down. Earlier this month, I was offered an audiobook from a significant author in San Diego and I had to turn it down. Even though they had a launch a month out, they needed this very long book done in two weeks. Because I work full time, there was no way I would have been able to give my best to the project or deliver on time. So I gracefully declined, but expressed interest that I would love for an opportunity in the future. I even sent them a sample of the book to see if this was what they imagined.Turns out they had sat on the manuscript for 5 months prior, but had only just then reached out for narrators. For me, it was a wise choice because I would have failed to deliver on time and with quality. The client told me that they will reach out sooner to me in the future. All this to say, better to make a decision after carefully evaluating verses fear or stress. Thanks for the video!