Telling stories with sound


I’m excited to let you know that I’ve signed up to do a podcasting course with the nice people who run Creative Nonfiction Org. I was moseying around the internet looking for a writing course and I found this course  – Introduction to Audio Storytelling which combines nonfiction storytelling with audio editing. Both of these skills come together beautifully in a podcast.

I might not have talked much about my interest in podcasting on this blog, but I’ve mentioned it a few times over here on my other website. (Why do I have two blogs I hear you ask? Don’t know really, I just wanted to write about two slightly different but related topics I guess. I think of this blog as a place where I can write about creativity and insecurity and also about the pleasure that comes with trying new things. My other blog is about clarity, simplicity and design. As I said, different but connected).

What’s the course about?

Over the next 8 weeks I’ll be learning about sound editing and how to write and produce a five minute podcast. The course starts today and I’m pretty excited to be embarking on a new creative endeavor. I’ve done some sound editing in the past, but to be honest it was a long, long time ago, so I’m really looking forward to refreshing my skills, working collaboratively with the other students, and trying out some new ideas.

For the podcast we need write about something that is true, but also personal. Not in a creepy tell-all kind of way, but to write about something that is meaningful to us. That will be a challenge and already I’m doubting my ability to come up with something sufficiently interesting. I’m thinking about writing a short piece on finding your passion as I always find this topic of interest and I seem to be drawn to books and articles on the subject. I suspect that if I can talk about it for 5 minutes with enough enthusiasm, then there are bound to be other people who find the topic interesting as well. And really, the point of the exercise is to make something that makes me happy, not everyone else. Much like a painting a picture I suppose…

I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going. Have you thought about trying something new?


Can nonfiction be creative?

Mr Wikipedia says that creative nonfiction (also known as literary nonfiction) is a genre that uses literary forms to tell a story about true events. So if the events are real and the people are real, where does the creativity come in?

I think that it’s about using storytelling devices to weave a narrative that is compelling, rather than just a straight recitation of events, which could be really dull. Take the following example…

“I got up. It was raining. I went to the shops. I came home”. Not much of a story there!

A creative nonfiction writers would set the scene, describe the characters and build up to something actually happening. There would be a storytelling curve of some kind.

Creative nonfiction comes in many forms, from personal essays and memoirs to third person narratives about moments in time or newsworthy events. I’ve discovered that there are lots of resources out there and lots of people who are interested in the genre.

One of the websites I’d like to share is Narrative magazine. There’s some great writing on this site as well as competitions for writers of all kinds (not just creative nonfiction). Check it out, it’s really interesting.

Blogging challenge: day twenty-four

Everyone has their favourite writing blogs and I’m no different. I have a particular interest in copywriting, so most of my favourites are copywriting blogs. My top pick would be The Writer. What I especially like about this blog is the high level of self-deprecation. It amuses and entertains.

Copywriting is interesting because of its persuasive nature. The main goal of a copywriter is to get the reader to take action. This might be smiling, buying something or just getting people to change their minds about an issue. I like the way copywriters are able to capture feelings and emotions in a very small number of words.

Another favourite writing blog is the right practice. Like me, they really believe that daily practice is the key to success.

Blogging challenge: day five

The description I have posted about myself in my ‘about’ section is not quite accurate. I describe myself as a graphic design student but the truth is that I have put my studies on hold this semester. Part of the reason is that I work full-time in a fairly demanding job so I don’t have a lot of spare time, but the main reason I withdrew from the course is because I was really put off by the way the course documentation was presented. I felt that it was poorly designed and that this reflected badly on the course, which focussed on the design process.

I sent an email to the lecturer who asked me why I was withdrawing, so I told him. I think he was a bit shocked at the detailed feedback I gave him and he admitted to me that he found it quite hard to be on receiving end of criticism. I thought his response was quite honest, even though he clearly didn’t agree with my appraisal of the course documents.

I don’t cope with criticism very well myself. I know that it’s good to get feedback, but it can be hard to take, especially if you find it almost impossible to reveal your inner self to the world. That’s one of the reasons that I like blogging. It’s intensely personal and quite removed at the same time. You never know how people are responding (especially on this blog where no-one ever comments…. what’s that about?).

I know that I need to toughen up and put myself out there more, but I think if you are a beginning writer, or blogger, or creative person of any description, then it could be a good idea to get feedback from people who will deliver this with a degree of care. I hope you have someone in your life who can fulfil this role, and if you don’t, perhaps it would be a good idea to look for someone?

This is possibly easier said than done, but it’s a big advantage of blogging. It opens up the world and gives you a chance to connect with like-minded people who share your goals and aspirations.

Lovely writing

One of the ways you can learn to write well is to read the work of other writers, especially people who have mastered the craft of writing.

This is a lovely piece written by a woman who lives a fairly ordinary life in Saskatchewan, Ontario. But whilst she may live an ordinary life, she’ s a wonderful writer. I highly recommend this beautiful piece of writing which I found very moving.

In this post she shares her own special memories of September 11.