Unlike smell, sound words are a lot more commonly used. We often use sound words without thinking about them because they’re a sense we’re usually not consciously focused on. The sound of footsteps, an upset voice, the sounds of a door slamming, plate breaking, laughter, tears, rain, thunder, yelling. We use sounds a lot in writing because we’re always hearing them in our day to day life. Right now I can hear my music, the keyboard, the train and the air conditioning in the carriage. But if I go a little deeper, and listen a little closer. I can hear the tapping of my keyboard, the gentle thrum of the train on the tracks, people shuffling and metal clinking on armrests as they get up for their stop.
That’s the difference between telling sound and describing it. One is more superficial, it describes sounds at face value. The basic sound words we’ve been taught to think of. That noise is a car, that’s a horn, that’s a doorbell. They’re all labels, not quite descriptions. But if you take it deeper to a more sensory level readers can build a more in-depth picture in their mind of the scene you’re showing them. They can feel like they’re actually there. But remember to do this sparingly!
Try it yourself
What are the sounds around you right now? Can you describe them more deeply?
To help you out with you sound descriptions download our FREE sensory words PDF (you have to be a member to get access – you can join for free now). You can also check out our blog posts on sight, smell, touch, and taste too!