You’re in the middle of writing a story. You are at a point in your creation where you need to add some friction or a tense moment. You know what needs to go into the scene. You can see it in front of you (so to speak). But, what can you do to intensify the suspense? Yes, you know what will cause it, but how can you bring it more to life and jump off the page? Word choice. Not just any choice of words either. You need words with certain sounds that, when put together, bring about a certain feeling or whatever feeling you’re trying to convey.
What sounds in the following sentences add to the intended feeling?
- Tension–The stranger’s body thunked to the ground, when the knife pierced his chest.
- Eerie–The air’s cold finger touched the back of my neck in spite of the warm breeze coming in off the lake. The shadow wafted over the sand, paused, then glided onward.
- Joy–The shiny bells glistened in the candlelight, as the children opened their presents.
- Sadness–Tears formed in the corner of her eyes then trickled down her cheeks as she gazed into the casket that contained the mother she never got to know.
Whichever sounds you use in your writing is up to you, but using various literary devices can certainly help with this. Some of them are listed below.
In future posts I will cover each of these more in depth. In this post I just wanted to bring them to the surface. I know though that we use these devices regularly in our writing without thinking about them. But, when you are writing a particular scene and need to create a certain feeling and nothing is coming to you, then the above devices are a great arsenal to draw from.