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Exercise: Sound off!

These exercises were written by IWW members and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its members. You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that you found them at the Internet Writers Workshop (http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/).

Prepared by: Lani Kraus
Posted on: Sun, 11 Mar 2001

Last week we used light -- in many variations -- to illuminate our passages. But, not everyone responds to visual cues.

Sit down with someone you know. Ask that person to tell you about a wonderful day when he was pre-teen. Watch his eyes. His eyes may raise as he thinks of images of a special day. His eyes may gaze toward his ears as he listens for the memories. Or, he may lower his eyes, as he recalls the feelings inspired by those special moments. Try a few more questions that tap into his memory, and you'll find a preferred sense that this friend employs.

Most people use their sense of vision most comfortably, but not everyone. There are certainly those who are most deeply moved and entranced by sound. So how to reach these potential readers?

Listen to this incredible line by Joyce Carol Oates (from "We Were the Mulvaneys"):

"Marianne's pretty face lit up in its customary dazzling smile. "Hi, Della Rae!"--the very voice, a lilting soprano, of Caucasian privilege."

I read that line and said to myself, "Holy macanoli! What a line!"

Can you reach a music lover? Can you make me hear bells?, or birds sing?, or perhaps Asian oppression?

For this exercise, write a scene, no more than 300 words, in which you employ sound in order to move and involve your reader.

Have fun!

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Modified by Gayle Surrette.