Month: July 2015

Would You Silence The World?

Something my daughter said yesterday sparked this blog post. We sat outside, reading on our porch swing when she huffed and puffed.

“I can’t concentrate!” she nearly exploded. “There’s too much noise.”

I set my book on my lap and listened. “Hmmm,” I said. “I see what you mean. Let’s pretend we can silence every noise.”

airplane trail“Quiet, airplane,” I said.

“Quiet, bird!” my daughter ordered.

“Quite, trucks and cars and train, whistling into the station,” I said.

“Quiet, squeaky springs in this swing bench,” my daughter ordered.

“Quiet, gusty wind, and balmy breezes,” I added. “And while we’re at it, let’s quiet the footsteps and chatter of our neighbors, walking their dogs,” I said.

“Quiet, dogs!” my daughter said.

Next, I quieted myself. Even when my daughter asked questions, I said nothing.

“Talk to me!” she said. “I changed my mind. I don’t like all this quiet.”

Of course, we don’t have the power to remove all the sounds in the world.

Thank goodness!

But in pretending we were magical enough to evoke silence, I helped my daughter realize how important sound is and how easily we tune it out. The thud, thud, thud of jeans in the dryer, the soft blub, blub, blub of the fish tank filter, the soft, wheezy, breathing of my dog, sleeping behind me on my chair. Sounds are all around us–constantly.

As a writer, I often feel like I enter into moments like a deaf person given the gift of hearing, or a blind person given the gift of sight. The symphony of sounds surrounding us is a great gift. Tune in today and as you listen, make a mental list of the sounds you hear.

A note to writers: When including sounds in your work, let those sounds bring meaning to your writing. Let the sounds reveal something about your characters. Does the train whistle remind Charlotte of her vacation in Italy when, because she missed her stop, she met the man of her dreams? Does the warm breeze take Robert back to the beach where he proposed to his wife fifteen years ago?

The random mentioning of sound in a book serves as dead filler. Bring sound to life by connecting it to your characters.


Writertales Gets A Blog Name Change

Before starting this blog, I googled my name. To my shock, up came over 7 million results! Yes you read that right… Seven million sites! I wondered how people would find me. I knew no editor or agent had that much time on their hands to page through such a long list to find me. Of course I blamed my husband (in jest) for not having a unique and memorable last name. I asked the members of my writing groups what their thoughts were on writers blogging under their name vs. a catchy title. Surprisingly, of the replies I received, more than 3/4 of the responses advised me to use a catchy title. I came up with a long list to google, and all but one were taken–thus Writertales was born.

So, why the name change?

At a picture book webinar I attended this past week, the presenting editor took a moment to talk about the importance of platform. When she came to the topic of blogs, she paused to state, what she considered, one of the top rules writers should follow.

If you want agents and editors to find you quickly, (note the key word – ‘quickly’) use your own name. Don’t get cute here.

I asked her what to do if you happened to share your name with 7 million other people.

“Add your middle initial,” she said.

A new Google search produced 1,560,000 results. Sure the shocking number took a nose dive, but not enough for my liking.

“What if over one and half million people share that name, too?” I asked the editor.

“Then you’ll have to use your maiden name together with your married name,” she said, “or publish under a pen name.”

The problem is that a pen name wouldn’t be MY name, and I don’t want to see a fictitious name on my writing.

Easy choice.

I am saying goodbye to Writertales and ask you to say hello to Leslie Leibhardt Goodman.