The Sounds of Fiction

Reading is an immersive act, depending on the writer. I know when I read, I love to feel as if I’ve slipped from whatever nook in my house that I’ve turned into a reading space and have come into the world of whatever book that I’m reading. That is a feeling that I love in any genre. From feeling as if I’m getting a front row seat to a fantastical battle and hearing the way that their weapons clash, to something as mundane as a honk from a car while shadowing a couple in their cozy little tea shop. As a reader, the sensory feelings I get from these books are what makes them an immersive experience.

As a writer, however, trying to convey this is such a daunting experience. As I’ve noted throughout my blog, I’m still building my capabilities as a writer. As such, there are still a few things that I’m still learning. This is one of those concepts that I struggle with. Maybe less so over the past few months. Even though I have a ways to go, I have learned a few tricks to get closer to making my writing into a sensory, immersive experience.

One of the tricks, and I’m sure many have heard this before, is to be descriptive. In writing, an audience doesn’t have the benefit of sound design or visual ques as they would in film or television. It is the job of the writer to make these ques accessible to the reader’s imagination. However, this is easier said than done. But it is through descriptive language that these ques can be present. Let’s use the daily post word “honk”. One could say,

“The car honked as it passed by.” Ok, we understand this sentence and what that would sound like. However, a more descriptive version of this would be:

“The honk that emitted from the car was loud enough to startle a passerby or two. Though, standing right by the car left the sound reverberating in my ears, there was solace as the car zipped by, quelling the loud sound as it pushed further through traffic.”

That wasn’t the best sentence, by any means, but it does show more than the previous sentence. This is one of the main ways to really show the sounds of fiction. I’m still learning how to truly do this. This is something that can be done in just a word, as an overload of descriptive language can be off- putting. Either way, understanding the necessity to bring in the senses in fiction as one of the best ways to improve writing. I hope this was helpful to someone else.


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