Fear in Writing: Sound

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Thu-wumpa.  Thu-wumpa.  Thu-wumpa.
Thu-wumpa.  Thu-wumpa.  Thu-wumpa..
Rat-a-tat-tat.  Rat-a-tat-tat.
Thu-wumpa.  Thu-wumpa.  Thu-wumpa.
Thu-wumpa.  Thu-wumpa.  Thu-wumpa...

Any guesses?

It's an MRI machine.  That's right, I spent my Tuesday morning inside one of those, and all I could think during the procedure was how I would describe the sounds I was hearing.

Sound is such a strong sense, yet so often ignored in literature.  It's not surprising.  It's hard to find the right words to describe sound--especially without sounding silly.  But it's a real sense that can build real atmosphere.

I wasn't scared in the MRI machine, but I could see how the sounds could be used to create fear.  I was certainly surrounded by the sound.  With my eyes closed, it's really all I was aware of.

Do you concentrate on sound--or the lack thereof--in your writing?

Also...the MRI was for a possible herniated disc in my neck.  We'll see after my second MRI next week if that's what's going on.


  1. Michele - I am sorry to hear you've had medical issues! I hope everything goes well and you heal up quickly.

    You make such interesting points about sound, too. Conveying sound to a reader can be a challenge, but if we can help evoke a sound, that can add so much to a story. So can silence. Something to think about, that's for sure...

  2. Hope that's not the case!
    Touch is the one I sometimes forget.

  3. Hope the MRIs can help pinpoint the issue and help you figure out what to do next!

    I do sometimes forget to include sounds - thanks for the reminder! :)

  4. Hope everything turns out okay! I have a slipped disk in my neck..bleh. :( I'm just sort of leaving it alone.

    I use sounds,but frequently only when I'm trying to point out how quiet it is (oddly!)

  5. Oh yes, the MRI machine. YOu might think with all the strides in technology these days they could make one that didn't sound like it was grinding your bones.

    Another thing in common we both have, herniated discs in our neck. How much fun is that?

    As for writing, I sometimes forget sounds in the first go round, but tend to deal them in later. Can't forget the sense imagery.