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Old 03/03/11, 02:20 AM   #1
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Default How To Describe SOUND

Vision has always been important. Film and television have further raised the predominance of the visual sense. It has become a visual world. The relevance of sound seems to have been relegated..
The visual world has affected everyone. People place so much importance on what they see that they often forget to write with other senses, but they should.
The world around us fills all our senses if wed just pause and take notice. Mostly, those sensations wash over us, yet these senses have a subliminal effect on our perception, and our memories. Thank goodness for vision, but why is it so hard to think of words to describe what we smell and hear and taste?

How to describe sound - Crazy

Writing can drive authors crazy. As authors, were desperate to put our ideas across. We know what we want to say, but boy can the process stretch us. Describing words, phrases, and balance are perhaps the worst to come to terms with - for example when we're struggling to describe sound.
In writing, you should try to never describe something for it's own sake - when you describe, it should support a motive. When looking for a word for sound, a brief description helps readers understand the experience the author is trying to put across, a lengthy one is boring.
Sounds can be ephemeral or overpowering, fleeting or sonorous; trying to describe that particular quality in a few words can be trying.
How to describe sound - Be sketchy

We should never overdo the way we describe or our work stands a chance of becoming ridiculous. This holds true when trying to describe sound. Mostly its best to give those words for sound a sketchy outline and leave the rest to the imagination of the reader. However, on occasions we really do need to put in a special touch to make it clear what we mean.
Describing is a significant kind of writing. Description should never be used as an end in itself, but as a means to reinforce some other purpose, such as clarification, emotional influence, or line of reasoning.
One of the problems with writing is you can become so carried away with your tale that your stock of words runs thin. Ive been there, done that, got the 'T' shirt. To survive, over the years Ive built up my own list of favourite words to describe sound. Maybe you might find them useful too.

Describe sound - Use caution

Here is my list of 'Words To Describe Sound' in alphabetical order. However, please be sparing with their use. Remember, a sprinkling in the right place can lift your work and make it sparkle. Overblown describing will kill it.
How to describe sound - The List

Babble, Babel, bark, barking, bawl, bawling, bay, beat, beating, bellow, blare, blaring, blast, blubbering, booming, bray, braying, bubbling, bump, bumping, burble, burbling, burping.
Cackle, cacophonous, carol, cawing, chant, chattering, cheep, cheeping, cheer, chiming, chirp, chirrup, chorus, clamour, clang, clangour, clank, clapping, clash, clatter, clucking, colliding, commotion, cooing, coughing, crackling, crash, crashing, creaking, croaking, croon, crooning, crowing, crunching, cry, crying.
Din, ding-dong, discordant, dissonant, dumb.
Gabble, gagging, gasping, gibber, grating, grinding, gritty, growl, grunting, gurgling, Hissing, hoarse, hollering, honking, hoot, howl, hubbub, hullabaloo, hurly-burly.
Jabber, jangle, jarring, jingle.
Melodious, mewing, moaning, mooing, mum, mumbling, murmuring.
Pandemonium, panting, patter, peal, pealing, peep, piercing, piping, pitch, plashing, popping, pounding, prate, prattle.
Quacking, quiet, quiet.
Racket, rasping, rattle, rattling, raucous, raucous, rhythmic, ring, ringing, ripping, roar, row, rumble, rumbling, rumpus, rustling.
Scratching, scratchy, scream, screech, shout, shriek, shrill, shuffling, sibilance, sighing, silent, singing, smash, snapping, snarl, sneezing, sniveling, snoring, snorting, sobbing, soothing, speechless, splash, squall, squawk, squeaky, squeal, strident, striking, susurration, swish.
Taciturn, tapping, tearing, thump, thunder, thunderous, tight-lipped, tinkle, tinkling, tolling, tone, tranquil, trill, trumpeting, tumult, tune, tweet, twittering.
Ululate, uproar.
Vocalize, voiceless, volume.
Wail, warble, war-whoop, weeping, wheezing, whimpering, whining, whisper, whistling, whooping, wordless.
Yapping, yell, yelp, yodel, yowl.
How to describe sound - And finally

Successful descriptive prose helps a reader sense they have first-hand knowledge of what is taking place - they feel as if they are there - perhaps more especially when using a word that describes sound. The use of the senses allows a reader to enter the scene by inducing an emotional response. It works because it creates imagery and tension in the mind.
However, remember not to overdo the describing element - and keep clear of adverbs and adjectives. Adverbs will make your work seem like that of an amateur.
Please remember, too many words for sound will kill your story. A few might just help it burst into life.

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