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Meet Christopher, May 2023
Conversations with long-time fans
Some users have been here since the early days and keep coming back regularly. Mostly through email exchanges, I've met kind people and discovered interesting ways they use myNoise. Their loyalty and stories inspired me to conduct short user interviews. If you are a long-time user of myNoise and have an interesting story to share, I invite you to get in touch with me. I'd love to chat with you!

Soundscapes and Storytelling: An Interview with Christopher Coles

Today, we meet Canadian Science Fiction/Fantasy author Christopher Coles who shares his unique approach to writing, deeply integrating the customizable and immersive soundscapes of myNoise into his creative process.

Stéphane • Nice to meet you, Christopher! Can you introduce yourself and tell how you did come across this website?

ChristopherChristopher • I'm Christopher Coles. I am an aspiring Science Fiction/Fantasy author from Canada and I love immersive audio. I've even created immersive audiobook readings of some of my stories. If you are curious, a sample of my work can be found here.

I stumbled upon MyNoise in 2017 just as I started writing my first novel, and was instantly hooked. myNoise sounds were perfect for listening to while writing because they were endless and seamless, and they faded into the background without distracting me. Sometimes I have written while listening to music, but you have to find just the right album or it will end up disrupting your focus. Sometimes the mood changes too dramatically or it feels at odds with the scene I'm writing. I end up a DJ and a writer at the same time - haha - skipping tracks or scavenging to find one that fits. myNoise doesn't have these problems.

Stéphane • That's precisely why I'm delighted to feature you here, Christopher, knowing that many users of myNoise are authors like you. Could you shed some more light on this unique use-case?

Christopher • Absolutely, Stéphane. I've loved myNoise since the day I chanced across it, and I've been using it to help me write for years. Crafting my own soundtrack and using sound to immerse myself in the world of my book has been incredibly useful. It's like being physically present in the scenes I'm writing. Audio has incredible transportation power, even more than sight or smell. Those in the industry say that 80% of a movie's success depends on the audio, and I am inclined to agree. Sound adds impact and intrigue. It boosts clarity and enhances emotion. Audio grounds us in the world. We can feel the weight of Thor's hammer because of the way it thuds and thunders. We can feel the humidity of the jungle on screen because of the sounds of the insects buzzing in our ears and the rustle of the leaves in the wind. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a sound is worth ten thousand!

Stéphane • So, you use audio to transport yourself into the world of your books when you write?

Christopher • Absolutely.

Stéphane • Could you share an instance where a sound from myNoise has directly influenced your writing?

Christopher • In my first fantasy novel, there was a musician who played the duduk flute to help calm the king. Originally, it was a pan flute, but when I heard the duduk on myNoise, I knew it was a better fit. This is but one example of the countless times a sound from one of your generators wormed its way into the actual prose of my stories. Sometimes I'm not even conscious of it.

Stéphane • But then, these soundscapes also help reducing the audible distractions around you. Do you use myNoise for that purpose too?

Christopher • Yes, once I have crafted the perfect stack of noises I crank the volume and get writing, creating the ideal creative environment. These stacks usually include sounds the main characters might hear in their environment and a fitting soundtrack for the book. when I started, my method for making sounds was blasting my ears with as much noise as possible. Perhaps it was a little maximalist of me. Since then, I have toned it down. Here is a recent composite generator that I created for a Sci-fi set in a desolate, wintery apocalypse.

I spent months listening to specific sounds while working on a novel, and eventually, hearing these sounds became synonymous with working on the project. This had an interesting effect. Whenever I turned on the sound, my brain had a Pavlovian response. I would be transported back into the world of the book instantly, and all the characters, emotions, and plotlines would come back to me as if they had never left. This has been very useful when jumping from project to project or returning to an old one.

Stéphane • How does this method of using sounds facilitate your writing process?

Christopher • As a writer who tends to work on more than one project at once, I have to be fully immersed in the story to write it. If the two projects are very different, there would be some difficulty transitioning between them. However, by associating specific sounds with each project, I can just play the sound and voilà! I'm immediately in the right mindset. I can't think of a faster or more efficient way of getting back into the groove.

Stéphane • Have you ever had a moment where the sounds you use for your writing took on a life of their own?

Christopher • I recall a time when I was in the other room and I heard a distant noise coming from my office. Even barely audible it pierced the delicate silence and demanded my attention. Somehow this sound was still playing, despite the fact that my laptop was closed. I approached it like a character who is enticed by some malevolent artifact. It turned my will against me and drew me closer step by step. The howling winds beckoned softly and I flipped up the screen. My writer instincts flared up as if they were expecting to do some writing and I think they were disappointed I didn't. It took a moment to recalibrate myself once I had turned the sound off.

Stéphane • Given your extensive use of myNoise, how would you rate it compared to other sounds available on the internet?

Christopher • I firmly believe that these sounds are the best you can find on the internet. Even if they weren't as configurable and dynamic, they would still trump anything else I've heard. But the customization you offer allows us creatives to make the perfect soundscapes and breathe life into our writing process.

Stéphane • Do you have any final words for our readers?

Christopher • There is truly something special about myNoise, and it is one of my favorite places to return to. I love exploring the generators and seeing what new sounds have been added. On behalf of all the writers on myNoise, I want to say: keep up the excellent work!

Stéphane • Thank you so much Christopher!