Back in September, I published Emotional Beats: How to Easily Convert your Writing into Palpable Feelings. As promised, I will be posting the book on my blog. So, here is the next installment, featuring Part 2 of the book: Body Parts. As last week’s post was shorter than usual, I hope to compensate with today’s one, which deals with what you can hear:

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Emotional Beats | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Read for free with KU

Sound is a particularly evocative sense that can be used to bring any scene to life. For example, a single sentence like, “computers beeped, phones shrilled, and printers whirred” conveys all the bustle in a modern office.

  • A shutter banged against the frame.
  • A car door slammed.
  • A dog howled in the distance.
  • The motor stuttered and whined.
  • The ceiling fan whirred.
  • The rope clanked rhythmically against the flagpole.
  • Computers beeped, phones shrilled, and printers whirred.
  • Waves hissed against the shore.
  • Waves thumped against the hull.
  • Thunder rumbled.
  • The wind whined.
  • Rodent feet scurried.
  • Water gurgled in the drainpipe.
  • A dog barked in the distance.

On the farm, I heard…

  • the whoosh of cars speeding by on the highway.
  • the wind rustling through the leaves of trees.
  • the crunch and crack of twigs and seeds fallen from the trees under foot.
  • the sudden banging of a storm door.
  • the screeching scrape of a tree branch on the metal of the barn.
  • the clank on the chain on the gate.
  • the hoot of a barn owl in some tree close by.
  • the stomp of a horse’s hoof.
  • the tinny thud of a metal feed door being nosed by a horse.
  • the contented munch of a horse eating.
  • the patter of feet across the metal roof of the barn [say by a squirrel or a rat].
  • the whoosh of water into the bucket.

The wind carried the sounds of…

  • the announcer’s voice for the junior high football game in a stadium close by.
  • the roar of the crowd.
  • the drumming of the band.
  • a goat bleating next door.
  • the rasping of metal on metal as a knife pulled clear of the block.

In the city, I heard…

  • the whir of car tires on pavement.
  • a short loud blast of a car horn.
  • police sirens wailing at first near and then growing distant.
  • car keys jangling in someone’s pocket.
  • the drone of a jet passing low overhead.
  • skipping shuffle of footsteps on sidewalk.
  • a pedestrian coughing.
  • the smack of skin against skin [someone being hit].
  • the sudden yowl of a tom cat.
  • laughter and fake screams from a throng of young people exiting a bar.
  • the hiss of spray paint can in the hands of a graffiti artist.
  • echoing footsteps in an alley.
  • the rattle of trash can being knocked over, rolling.
  • the clink of a piece of metal being kicked.
  • a Harley rumbling to life.

Next week: Out of the mouth. View all posts on the subject, or buy the book on Amazon – free on KU!

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