GH day 28 – aka ‘Do you Hear What I Hear?’

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Today’s ruminations will center on the sense of hearing. Sound plays an important part in any scene. It can magnify action (the screech of tires). It can add humor (a belly laugh). It can increase the terror (scream piercing the night).

As I talked about in yesterday’s blog, when writing, a scene oftentimes plays out by sight first. Sound for me is the next ‘easiest’ sense to include. By adding sounds, the reader begins to step into the scene instead of being a casual observer.

Think about watching a movie or film clip with no sound. Now watch it again with the sound on. Big difference, right?

So now I need to go through my manuscript with hearing in mind. But when do I put it in? I don’t want to be too descriptive and detail every sound that is going on in the scene. If I did that, as the reader you wouldn’t be able to ‘hear’ the dialogue! So ask yourself – does the sound help amplify the mood of the scene? That is a great indicator if sound should play a part.

So let’s have some fun. I thought what I would do was create an excerpt and use it for this sense exercise and the next ones as well. This scene is a ‘sight scene’ right now. Read that first and then read the rewritten scene below with additions of sound (underlined sentences).

SIGHT:

Susanna slid down the wall next to the rickety cot and took a shaky breath. How long had she been there? There were no windows in her cell so she had no sense of day or night.  Why had they taken her? She was a librarian for God’s sake. She knew nothing about someone named Gabriel Sinclair, yet they kept asking her where he was. This whole thing was a case of mistaken identity. She had to make them see reason.

She wiped the blood from her mouth while rationally examining her options. She had not seen her kidnappers’ faces. They had worn masks the whole time and ordered her to keep her eyes to the floor when they entered the room. That was a good sign. Maybe they planned to let her go. If they were working so hard for her not to identify them, all was not lost.

The door opened. Susanna tensed but kept her eyes down. A pair of military boots came into her line of sight stopping a foot in front of her. She waited.

“Look at me.”

She hesitated.  Were they testing her?

“I said look at me.”

She raised her head slowly and met his ice-blue eyes. He was not wearing a mask.

SIGHT & SOUND:

Susanna slid down the wall next to the rickety cot and blew out a hard breath, the sound echoing loudly in the small space. How long had she been there? There were no windows in her cell so she had no sense of day or night.  Why had they taken her? She was a librarian for God’s sake. She knew nothing about someone named Gabriel Sinclair, yet they kept asking her where he was. This whole thing was a case of mistaken identity. She had to make them see reason.

She wiped the blood from her mouth while rationally examining her options. She had not seen her kidnappers’ faces. They had worn masks the whole time and ordered her to keep her eyes to the floor when they entered the room. That was a good sign. Maybe they planned to let her go. If they were working so hard for her not to identify them, all was not lost.

The door squeaked as it opened slowly. Susanna tensed but kept her eyes down. She flinched as each step came closer. A pair of military boots came into her line of sight stopping a foot in front of her. She waited, her heart pounding in her ears.

“Look at me.”

She hesitated.  Were they testing her? She didn’t recognize this man’s voice. It was deeper than the others with some sort of accent she couldn’t identify.

“I said look at me.”

She raised her head slowly and met his ice-blue eyes. He was not wearing a mask.

 So enough for today. Tomorrow I will look for at a new sense and we will play a little more with the scene.

Task #30 – add sound to your manuscript is still a work in progress

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