The universe is in sync. Last week, Elizabeth asked us to share other ways we tell stories. And lately, the universe has been talking to me about audio drama.
NPR’s All Things Considered had a story about writing for audiobooks on their March 9, 2015, podcast. If you’ve got six minutes, you can listen to the story. It’s worthwhile to click on the link and read the comments, too.
As reporter Lynn Neary mentions, advances in technology has made it super-easy to enjoy audio work these days. I started listening to podcasts two years ago, when I discovered how easy it was to download. One of my favorites is Emma Newman’s Tea and Jeopardy series. Ostensibly, it’s work. She invites SFF professionals to tea, and chats about their work and writing in general. Listening to her podcasts help me keep up with the genre news.
But what makes it fun is the framing story – her tea lair is set in a different exotic spot each podcast, and there’s always a “mild spot of peril” involved. Emma writes the words, but she also makes sure to include sound effects, like the Magic Singing Chickens. Gentle humor, mild peril, tea and cake . . . she’s hitting so many sensory buttons here!
If you want to go a step further, people are exploring 4-D entertainment, as well. Archaeologist Stuart Eve discusses his narratives of the past using an iPad, an archaeological site, bone-conducting headphones and his own version of smell-o-vision which he’s calling “Dead Man’s Nose.” Can you imagine the possibilities for writing for such a format? In his story, you wander a tin-miner’s village in Cornwall (UK), listening to the fires crackle and the buzz of conversation around the hearth, while smelling woodsmoke, roasted meat and barnyards.
What a delight it would be to work with a producer who could help me make Bunny Blavatsky’s first masquerade ball a virtual reality. The chilly arena in Madison Square Garden, the smell of perfume and champagne, the sound of a waltz, the murmur of conversation in several languages, punctuated by loud laughter .
Even if you don’t feel your talents lean toward a non-textual sort of writing, thinking about those sights, sounds and smells can make your written story more textural, not just textual.
What’s your favorite scene-setting snippet of text? (It can be yours or someone else’s.) How did the author create that feeling of a real world? How can we co-opt those techniques?