Happy New Year! We made it into 2022 and another year of reading, writing and sharing great creativity, hooray!
Some weeks ago, I had asked a question on Twitter: Whether Writing Community could point me to flash fiction where sound plays an important role? Sound of rain, Diwali crackers, giggles? Writing Twitter couldn’t help much, so I did some digging of my own.
I think I’ve got a few examples to share with you. But first, let me tell you I didn’t find many stories. Could be that sound, as a vital undercurrent of the narrative, is a difficult task. You may ask why? I mean, isn’t it too much to expect words to rise like phantoms, hover over pages, create a din? Yet, have you, like me, thought wishfully if you could just show your reader, in just one frame, instead of like thirty words, how a train station is bustling with activity, the sound of a plane taking-off, the cheer in a stadium. But then, you’re no filmmaker, and so you hunt for exact words to lift the scene off the page. Hence, may I present these pointers…
Consider, “The Solid Years of my Life”. Flash Fiction Online published this story. Notice the line: “An ice cream headache hammers my brain while I thaw” close the story’s opening. Doesn’t it make us cock our ears, ready for the “TAP THREE TIMES”, used repeatedly to great effect to convey sound and movement? We can’t help but listen carefully thereon.
Next, read this Sara Dobbie story in Fiction Kitchen Berlin. Enjoy it with the repeated water acoustics, “Then the voice that drip, drip, dripped..”, followed by “I listened to the echoes of the watery cavern, the plink, plink, plink of droplets”, and “the clock in the hall tick, tick, ticks” and “rodent claws scratch, scratch, scratch.” This is a perfect example of making every day sounds work for you, for the story to pop out of the page.
May I present a still tinier story, Lucy Goldring’s 100 words, where the whole time you are forced to listen, as though you are on that train, swaying to the rhythm, while elbowing co-passengers.
Stories that rely heavily on dialogues, like this one (by Joyce Carol Oates, The New Yorker) also force the reader to listen, as opposed to visualize ( through imagery). When the reader is made to respond to sound, like in a theatre, or a violin performance, they tend to pay more attention.
That’s all I have for the moment, friends! I’m interested in exploring more, as I’m sure you are. Hope we can hone our skills as we read and learn! Happy Writing in 2022!