Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Exercise

I keep thinking about Jami's setting example from yesterday, the one with the soundproofed room. I think there are two basic types of soundproofing -- the kind that keeps sound from leaving (or entering) the container, and the kind that also changes sound within the container. For example, sound booths are designed to muffle echoes and feedback.

With that in mind, how would you describe the quality of sound inside either of these soundproofed environments? Does it depend on the kind of noise being made? If you want to take a stab at a sample and post it in the comments, it might make for an interesting roundtable. Keep your examples brief, please, no more than a couple hundred words. We're not telling stories, but trying to achieve an effect in a few sentences of action or description.



Joel Q Aaron said...

For Ss&Gs...

The first floor window gave him a clear shot at the parking lot as soundless cars drove by. He spoke clearly and annunciated without thought. His voice didn’t echo in the small room, but reverberated across the region to car stereos and office radios. He nodded at the producer and special guest mouthing at each other in the hall. With a wave of his hand, they came though the thick door and into the studio as if a paused CD began to play in mid chorus. Office chatter followed. The ding of a microwave. Then the silent movie returned as the door closed.

Jami Gold said...

Well, I can tell you how I changed that sentence in my manuscript. :)

For this particular room (interrogation room), I imagined it was designed more to isolate the interior of the room from the rest of the police station and less to muffle echoes. However, I think the density of the walls would affect the reverberation of the sound, so I'm glad you pointed out that possibility.

Original lines:
As expected, the sparse room stank of sour sweat and smoke, with three utilitarian steel chairs around an industrial table. She made herself at home and shoved them all toward the back wall so she could approach the one-way mirror unimpeded. Once she’d finished the furniture rearrangement, the room’s silence gave evidence of its soundproofing.

Revised lines:
The odor of sour sweat and smoke clogged the air in the sparse room. She made herself at home, shoving the three utilitarian steel chairs and industrial table toward the back wall so she could approach the mirror unimpeded. The deadened screech of the furniture rearrangement gave evidence of the room’s soundproofing.

Thomas Sharkey said...

I had my hearing tested last week, I sat in a small room with the attendant.
A soft sound of silence surrounded me, numbing my senses.
The walls were covered in foam blocks shaped something like the inside of an egg box.
When the assistant spoke the room felt even smaller. Her voice was a flat sound and it had a sort of finality about it.