tagHow ToWrite Your Head Around This Pt. 03

Write Your Head Around This Pt. 03



For the final instalment of the series we're investigating the power of hearing. As was glossed over in the first article, in such a busy modern day we are bombarded from all sides with useless information, and our senses overloaded to the point of confusion. Many of us manage to switch off, dulling the senses to the point where we become desensitised and un-alert, just so that we can cope with the barrage of seeming pointlessness.

Sentinel intelligence is not just important to survival, it's important to our relationships, and most of all to the rich personal experience of life. As storytellers I cannot help but feel that our creativity suffers as we become jaded and out of touch with the natural world by shutting ourselves off.

So as I have explored ways to concentrate on and to fine-tune singular senses in these exercises, with the focus on a single primary object, the same will apply in this exercise with the focus being on recorded sounds (or organic sounds if you prefer).



Listen to my voice, and to my breathing between each sentence I speak. There's a cigarette burning to my left, which I pick up every minute, tapping the ash into the tray before taking a long, satisfying drag and breathily releasing a billow of smoke into the room, before carrying on with my message.

Actually I'm saying a few words per sentence out loud as I punch away nimbly at the keyboard, typing up my smart-arsery quickly, in the hopes that I can soon turn off my PC. It's overheating, the processor crunching, while the extractor fan blasts like the engine of a plane warming up for takeoff.

Outside every second or third car is a raging wind, metallic shadows rushing by at a furious speed. The gentle breeze on the air, by comparison, might seem an empty platitude in response to my conscious wish for peace and quiet. But it caresses the tree at my window to sleep, gentler than any hand rocks a cradle, with a barely audible "shhhhh..."

My temples throbbing with the hush of hot blood, I ignore the slowing of the traffic, like the distancing of passing thunder, favourable of the lonely workman's ambience at my own desk, and I hope for the world to be done with its noise by the time I lay siege to my sleep.



In this mini story there are many sounds happening, and typically of life, they're all happening at once. I, or my fictional self, allow each sound to become the focus of the story, as I turn my attention to it. Notably, there isn't much objective detail; mostly the use of association to describe the sounds around me as I work away.

Mercifully, sound is one of the senses that a writer can not only utilise very easily, but also count on heavily to provide details that the reader can relate to. I associate sounds that they too can associate with. It's nothing new, but it's a fun way of writing.

What's notably different between the sounds of the manmade devices and the sounds of nature is that artificial manmade devices can most easily be associated with other artificial devices by sound, if not with situational observations involving them.

Nature is instinctively associated with nurture here. The wind, the most powerful natural element, is the mother trying to protect her child, the shaking tree outside my window, from those angry metallic pests whizzing by at high speed. But when the obvious is not stated, it still makes all the sense in the world, because association allows us to pick up on these details without so many words.

When it comes to sentinel intelligence and the atmosphere around us, much dimension can be added to a story to promote authenticity by triggering association of the human senses, because we know what everyday things sound like, from the weather, to our devices and transport, to the tone of our voices as we speak to one another.

You don't have to know how the world works in order to write a story. You can do that by knowing how the world looks and sounds, what it feels like, smells like, and tastes like. But sound, next to sight, is almost half the battle.

If we singled out our senses one by one, it's uncanny just how much hearing alone, to the well-trained ear, can observe so keenly over all others.



Head on over to YouTube with your best headphones when you have time to yourself. You're going to search for long videos of nature/weather sound effects (high quality is the only quality), and you're going to have yourself a time to relax, to close your eyes, to listen and to visualise.

Be it gentle rain, or a thunderstorm, forest sounds, a mountain stream, the seaside, the ocean, or the ominous desert winds, pick one and be done with all your other senses. You're going to let your ears carry you, Dumbo, up and away.

There are visualisation/relaxation tapes out there designed to talk you through stuff that's vaguely like this, but I believe that the last thing we need is other people to spoil the purity of the exercise. That being said, if you enjoy this exercise and you're up for a giggle, the Jeff Bridges relaxation tape had me laughing myself to sleep.

But for this exercise I want you to go with the flow, in your mind's eye, in whatever place that you envision during the fifteen to thirty minutes you spend listening. Nothing is off limits, so don't go all tree-hugging hippy on me. We're not here to be at one with nature, but to sharpen our instincts.

Listen to every detail in the symphony of nature before you. It tells its own story!

With pen and paper, when you're done, write down the things that stuck with you, and maybe try to express anything that was new to you. Your powers of observation will be relying on your power of association to make the connections, like with the last two exercises.

Every writer has a cliché for everything they don't care to pay attention to. We're all guilty, every single time. But a well-written observation of what the senses experience in the moment goes far, because it makes a story vivid and therefore feeling more real.

So sit down for fifteen minutes to half an hour when you feel ready to write something, and go right ahead. Tell us all about your journey, or go one better and take us with you. You might not even want to come back.



Well, after this third instalment you have two other senses to explore for yourself, if you choose to, otherwise maybe you want to keep sharpening your senses and applying them practically to your creative process.

When we think of discipline, we think of the kind of strictness that we seek to escape and avoid; the kind that just drains the fun out of everything. But a discipline of the senses when the world around us is already sapping the life out of us might be just what we need to resist the grey, dull, and tasteless, and to rediscover what really makes life such a rich experience. It sharpens us, retunes us, and gives us fresh perspective.

Can these exercises be used to improve our contributions on Literotica? Sure as hell they can. Erotica is all about tantalising the senses, exploring to the emotional and digging up the roots of our innermost secrets, is it not?!

On that note, I think I've said enough. I hope you've enjoyed these exercises and that they've helped to boost your creativity. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments, and to submit your results!

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