Tap, tap, tap.
The sound that I hear while I'm writing, typing on my keyboard, is like music to my ears. Like a sweet symphony playing in the background to my creative muse. Yet, I tune it out as it plays softly and focus instead on the words speaking to me from somewhere deep inside me.
Some of my favorite sounds in life are to hear are the river running behind my house, the laughter of my children, the beating of my husband's heart. Listening to these things evokes a story in itself. Serenity. Joy. Oneness.
Bringing the element of sound into our writing can enhance it greatly, whether it is non-fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, or fiction. Sound is a sense that most of us can relate to. The absence of sound can also speak volumes.
The boom of fireworks.
A gun's report.
A shrill answer.
The rush of waterfalls.
A child's whimper.
Scratching on the door.
Pattering of rain on a roof.
A judges gavel.
The howl of wind.
The humming of a lullaby.
A low whistle.
Words uttered beneath one's breath.
Word's left unspoken.
Is it near or far? Fading? Growing closer? Reverberating? Haunting? Singing? Imagined?
Some sounds incite varying connotations for the individual. Remember the click. click. click. tap. tap. tap. ching. that I mentioned above? To me these very sounds evoke a different era. The click of my keyboard. The harder tap of a an old typewriter. The ching of a carriage return. A what? A faint and brisk patter - the sound of texting. Sounds are also cliche. The whistle of a train tells us that it is coming in to the station. That beeping sound tells us that a truck is backing up. Drip. Drip. A leaky faucet. Cooing is coming from a baby. The rattling lungs of imminent death. The wedding march. Drumming fingers. The turn of a page. You get the picture. The word picture. One cannot paint sound, but we can write it.
Liz Curtis Higgs shared a great example that illustrates how effective this can be. It's simply genious.
"The distant hoofbeats were growing louder."
Instantly I know that a horse, perhaps horse and rider, are coming nearer. I'm curious, anticipating, and right there. It's not only an inspiring piece of prose, it is an excellent hook.
So you can see how the use of sound can enrich our writing. It can help establish setting. It can give clues to emotion. Give distinct traits to a personality. And bring our writing to life!
What are your own favorite sounds? How do you use the sense of sound in your writing? Can you share a favorite passage of writing that uses sound in a creative way?
Here are some great sound videos on you tube to inspire you.