Sound advice

Today’s theme for me has been sounds – and how to use them.  I wondered how I could employ sound in writing to convey atmosphere, aid transitions and heighten emotions.

This morning I was woken by rain hissing on the tarmac outside. The wind rattled our tiles and made the rain hush and then tossed it down again like spilt rice. It made my bed seem all the more snuggly.

Some nights I hear the shingle gently susurrating along the shore; other nights it grinds against the beach, chucks and thunders as it  erodes the groynes. The sound creates two utterly different moods from pretty much the same action.

I walked down the drive to the College to a raucous chorus of rooks and jackdaws. The sound took my mind away from the traffic noise and away towards the countryside. Add in the odd baa from sheep and you’re right there. I  might have sparrows twittering and arguing and and fluttering in an scrap of urban wasteland- or inner city starlings that whistle and clamber on slate tiles. What about the thrilling shriek of a peregrine high in the roofscape? Or the lazy coo-coo-coo of a pigeon on a summer’s day?

Moving away from our flapping friends, I might consider sudden scream of a fighter jet exulting through a high valley or the throbbing rumble of a great earthmover gouging out clay to move the reader from one location to another. I might use the eeriness of swinging wires thrumming in an easterly breeze when all else is still – or the menace of unseen feet flapping closer on stone. From the rumble of the bus approaching to the rush of its airbrakes, there’s sound in movement which underlines action.

Which sounds do you like to use – and why?

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