Aaand we’re back with the description exercises. As I work through my next book(s) I know I’m making more of a conscious effort to bring the setting to life. I even have a post-it note next to my editing pages that just says, “see, taste, smell, hear, feel” as a little reminder checklist to go through each sense as I describe where my characters are or what they’re going through. It’s been really beneficial for me and I hope to keep moving in that direction and maybe one day I won’t need to the reminder and it will just naturally flow out.
Today’s senses exercise is about sound. Exercise number 5 says to stop and listen and isolate each sound in my space and write about them. In the middle of the day, everyone is home and there is a lot going on as I write this. So, let’s see how this goes.
Action music plays out of the television speakers as boyfriend plays Call of Duty. The intense tones instill a sense of urgency and the need to be observant and careful in every movement.
Water sloshes around in the dishwasher I started ten minutes ago. I experience a sensation of peace and calm knowing that my kitchen is clean for the moment. The steady rhythm could lull me to sleep, if I let it.
Down the hall, the older child is in his room. His voice sings out as he reads to his teacher through the zoom call. The longer ‘o’ sounds and emphasizing ‘t’ lets me know he’s learning to be a better reader.
Further away, I hear the tiny tot fighting his nap in his bed. Each whine or single cry gets sleepier each time it echoes out into the kitchen. The rattle of the crib bars slows and then gives out as he relaxes into the mattress to give into his little exhausted state.
Last, though, is the click of the keyboard. I peck out each word and relish in the sound as my hands move steadily over the alphabet. My favorite sound of all time.
That’s what my house sounds like on any given afternoon. Give or take the dishwasher running, haha. I tried to give each sound its moment in the spotlight and really focus on it and the way it made me feel. Sounds are important in a story. They can tell us about emotions of the setting and really set the tone for the scene we’re about to read. It’s one thing movies have over books, because nothing can set me up to being scared better than ominous music playing in the background of a horror movie. But telling what a character is hearing can have the same effect if you do it right.
Try this exercise out on your own and share your results with me.