That search activated a synapse deep inside Google, the cerebral cortex of cyberspace, linking to an essay, “The Sound of Paper”, posted on the Moleskinerie blog site by Pinkadelic. The essay lists a dozen sounds of paper, such as
It's a note uncrinkling on its own after being passed under bubblegum-painted desks. Do you like me? Circle Yes or No. Yes.Pinkadelic puts the sounds into contexts, as we do when we insert sound into stories, and her results are polished to a sheen.
Her post intrigued me in a couple of ways. I admire her craft and her imagination in finding these examples. And it reminds me that awareness of the raw data of sound lies deep beneath these descriptive gems. Basic awareness is the fuel for the sparkle in your stories.
I let my awareness wander to all the paper-connected sounds I can think of:
There are surely more, but this list will do.
Few of these sounds mean much unless they are put into a context, like “The resulting clack emphasized his point as Maynard sharply tapped the edge of the document against the table.” Or, “The sound of shuffling papers alerted me that Terry had finished the edits.”
Including references to sound, indeed any of our senses, enriches your stories, adding a note of realism and credibility hard to achieve any other way. Becoming intensely present in your surroundings, then cataloging your sensory input will fill the bins of your brain with enough fuel to sparkle up all the stories you can imagine.
Write now: sit quietly for three minutes, listening intently to your surroundings, then make a list of all the sounds you notice. Pick three of these sounds and weave them into short descriptions.