Creative Writing Adventures: Sign and Sound Language

Our reporter Gill James has been keeping herself busy with creative writing exercises and as we ease ourselves into life after lockdown she wants you to continue, enjoy and join in with our series, Writing Adventures!

This is another exercise you can do when you are out and about – or at least in response to having been out.

You’ll need to take a notebook with you for this or you can record your “findings” on your phone.

If you walk through any town you are surrounded by signs – names of roads and shops and commands and signs such as: Do not sit on the grass. Push. Special Offers.

There are sounds as well as you walk about in town. You can hear traffic noise and voices.

There may also be announcements – perhaps at the bus station or the Metrolink.

Even in the countryside there are sounds; bird song, the rush of the wind in the trees, farm machinery. Can you make up words that sound exactly like what you hear?

What about the park? Keep off the Grass. Kiosk. Open dawn until dusk. Ducks quacking. Children playing. The pop of tennis balls on strings.

Even your own back garden or balcony can be productive. The nee-nah of a passing ambulance. Somerlap fencing. Dog rose.

Collect as many signs and sound bites as you can.

When you get home, perhaps as you sit with a cuppa, assemble your little gems into something that sounds and reads well. You capture the essence of where you’ve been.

Here’s my example from the London Underground.

Mind the gap.

Mind the gap.

Stand clear of the doors please.

Stand clear of the doors please.

Take small children firmly by the hand.

And from a trip into Bury:

Keep your distance.

Chugga chugga. Big bus booming.

Please respect our one-way system.

While pigeons still are pecking in the park.

These little snippets may be good for putting on coffee mugs, mouse mats or greetings cards – especially if you can find images to go with them.

Another good use for your phone? You can find free to use images to help you out here.

Happy writing!


Would you like to share your story with us? We would love to see your work, so send us an email to [email protected] and we’ll publish them on our news site.


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