Inspiration can be difficult to find at the best of times. For anyone who, like me, struggles with setting the stage for inspiration, I thought I’d share one of my most frequently used tools as a writer.
Think about the best movie soundtrack you’ve ever heard. Now think about all of the sound effects necessary to convince an audience of a setting. What is a movie without those two things? Uncomfortably quiet. There are so many sounds that we hear in our daily lives that go unnoticed: background chatter, traffic noise, the hum of household appliances, etc. If they were to get taken away, the silence would strike us as bizarre.
That silence can often appear in the brain of a writer. We get so caught up in creating a great story that sometimes everything goes quiet, and our mind’s ear is left wanting.
Enter Ambient Mixer. This fabulous (and free) website allows you to create soundscapes to match just about any setting you’re writing about. Is your character perusing an outdoor market? You can pair crowd noise, soft wind, a flapping tarp, and music in the distance. Maybe it’s a fantasy market and there are exotic creatures for sale on display. What might they sound like? Ambient Mixer has just about every sound you can think of, and if they don’t have it, you can upload it yourself. I’ve found it incredibly useful in immersing myself in the scene I’m writing. It might even be fun to listen to as a reader!
I would suggest creating a profile so you can save all of your favorite “audio atmospheres” and create new ones to fit your specific needs. Happy soundscaping!