Books Don’t Come With a Soundtrack

January 11, 2010 at 5:33 am (Thoughts on Writing, Voice) (, , , , , , )

Maybe the title should be ‘books don’t come with a soundtrack yet’ because we know books are changing all the time and with audio books chances are there are some out there that already have a soundtrack.  However, for this post I am thinking about traditional print books and they don’t have a soundtrack.

I was thinking this because I was planning out a scene in my head the other day for a writing project I am hoping to start just as soon as I settle everything from the move and in my head it had the most fantastic musical score playing behind it. My protagonist was running and there were explosions and there was smoke but through it all there was this fantastic full orchestra and I was quite swept away.  Unfortunately you can’t write in the middle of a story “orchestra plays dramatic music in background” so the scene becomes so much less than what I originally imagined and without the score the entire scene just become fairly flat and i realised that I would definitely need to work on it.

Writing isn’t just about telling stories.  It is about connecting to the reader and captivating them emotionally.  That is what separates a person’s favourite books from a book that was an alright read.  For me the books that become favourites are the ones that manage to replace the soundtrack with the author’s voice.

You can tell any scene about a thousand different ways, unfortunately about nine-hundred of those will be boring, terrible, or completely incomprehensible, which leaves you with about 100 ways to tell the scene that might actually work.  However there is a difference between something that works and something that sweeps the reader away and transports them into the story.

How important is voice to you?  Which authors do you read because of their voice?  I would love to hear your views.


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