Thursday, March 24, 2011

What do you hear when you're reading?

I know of authors who listen to certain soundtracks while they're writing to inspire them to write with emotion or to add authenticity to their story. But what I'm thinking of today are the sounds you hear while reading a book.

It's important to incorporate sensory details (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) into a story to transport your reader. One of the details that I appreciate when I'm reading is narrative that conveys the sounds the characters are hearing.

If the setting is outside, perhaps in a wooded area, I'd like the author to find a unique way to describe these sounds. I'd like the description to deepen the characterization of the protagonist--tell me if the sounds are soothing or terrifying, depending on the character's circumstances.

If your character is in a city, this is what I'd expect to hear at some point in the novel. What would the character be thinking in reaction to this city noise? Please, tell me.

Or perhaps your character is at the beach and this is the background noise to an important conversation. How would that sound enhance your story? How could you work it into the theme of the book?

It's windy today in south Denver. The sound of the wind can add tension and drama to a story. You could write about the sound of dried leaves scudding across a parking lot or a tree limb groaning as it rubs a fence or it can add whimsy as the wind tickles a set of outdoor chimes.

Just thinking and hoping I've inspired you to think as well.


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Megan -

Great tips! When an author incorporates sound, it helps me enter into the story world.

Susan :)

Diane Marie Shaw said...

Great reminder. I need to work on this with my WIP.

Megan DiMaria said...

Thanks for the kind words, Susan and Diane.

Jaime Wright said...

I tend to write best in silence but I'll listen to a song BEFORE I write to inspire me. Usually it's a Spiritual song with thematic lyrics that express the emotion of the character's struggle. If I listen a few times I can shut it off and go express it (wihtout plageurizing lyrics - LOL) through the character :)

Catherine West said...

This is one of my favorite things about setting the scene. Often I write in a hurry because the words are just tumbling out of me. But then, once I have a rough draft I'm happy with, I start searching for pretty paper to wrap that baby up in. I put myself in my characters shoes. See what they see, hear what they hear. I love it!! Well, except when they're in some not so nice places, like a prison, but you know...