Crafting Fully Immersive Worlds: Adding Audio Elements and Personal Voice


When writing an article on World Anvil, or penning any written creative body of work for that matter, you're often advised not to simply produce a large wall of text that readers are liable to get dizzy staring at. You'll want to make things more engaging by adding images, CSS, creative fonts, unique formatting, eye-catching colors, line breaks, containers, quote boxes, and all that jazz. While these things definitely do help to spruce up your words, another interesting element also exists that is commonly overlooked...
Find out how to do more with the World Anvil codex!  
World Anvil Codex

SOUND. VOICE. PERSONALITY.

  There are multiple ways to bring sound, voice, and personality into your work. Even if you cannot use actual audio, there is something quite enchanting about personal voice in the written space. From focusing on the perspectives of in-world characters to inserting full dramatized audio scenes, you'll find this article has got all of the basic steps you'll need for adding another dynamic layer into your worldbuilding.

 

Why Add Audio?

If you want to create an immersive environment, it is essential to help the readers experience the work with all of their senses. Take a moment to relax and imagine yourself in your own world. What do you see? You can describe the vivid colors of wondrous landscapes and dreary clouds looming over dangerous, desolate mountainsides. You can even add supplemental images, be they photographs or illistrations. What do you smell? You can put into words the beautiful scents of delicate flowers or the pungent odors of junkyards. What do you taste? It's always a treat to spell out what delicious delicacies exist in your world... and the foods that one would rather not try due to their terrible taste. What do you feel? A multifaceted word. We have physical feeling: Outlining the frigid cold and the parching heat, the wicked winds and the soaking rains, the intricate patterns of woven tribal fabrics and the cracked porcelain walls of the cathedral. Then we have the mood of the world, or what your heart feels: Defining the maleficent plans of the evil ruler and depressed souls of those who cower under their iron hand. Highlighting the robust diligence of the resistance and the daring determination of the vigilante.   On top of all these questions, we have one more sense to explore: What do you hear? Animals? People? Nature? Instruments? These thoughts can be captured on the page as well. A simple way of doing it is describing what can be heard through your text. But, a super exciting way of doing it is actually bringing sound samples into your article! This can be done via YouTube, SoundCloud, or even Spotify embeds. Find all supported embeddable formats here in the codex!  

Sounds to think about adding to your article:

   
Voices  
  • A Captain's Log Entry
  •  
  • Passersby Speculating
  •  
  • A Town Crier/ Newsclip
  •  
  • A Poem
  •  
  • Conversations Had En Route to a Location
  •  
  • Perspective of Animal or Unlikely Creature (even an Inanimate object!)

 
Music  
  • A Bard's Ballad
  •  
  • A Tune from the Tavern
  •  
  • Folk/ Festival Songs
  •  
  • An Ode to the Reigning Royal
  •  
  • Church Music or Religious Hymns
  •  
  • Scores to Convey Mood (not necessarily heard in-world)

 
Ambiance  
  • Animal Sounds
  •  
  • Violent Weather
  •  
  • Crowds Gathering for Various Events
  •  
  • Vehicles and Machinery Working
  •  
  • Sounds of Cooking or Dining
  •  
  • Sounds of Conflict (from bar fights to battlefields!)

 
Educational  
  • Pronunciations of Words/ Conlang
  •  
  • Calls of Original Creatures
  •  
  • Sounds of Unique Natural Phenomena
  •  
  • Full Articles/ Short Stories Read Aloud for Convenience or to add Personal Flair

 
 
No matter your setting or genre, there are several elements to be explored in written AND audio form! Try adding some of the suggestions above to your articles through quote boxes, short story excerpts, or embedded soundbites. In doing so, you'll find that readers can more easily dip their toes into the wonders of your world.
Below is an example from an article in my fantasy world of Wynsumheord. For the 2021 Peculiar Plants Challenge, I decided to focus on Ceolwerac. Skip to the end of the page to find an excerpt from Syndri's plant journal in readable AND listenable form.  
Ceolwerac
Species | Apr 24, 2021
  The important thing to note is that I did not solely explore the plant's features in an impersonal, textbook method. I added Syndri's personal experiences, his feelings about the plant, and an anecdote about how the plant was used. Bringing personality and story into the article can intensify the dimensions of your world and the various elements within.
You can also use audio elements in interactive articles such as TTRPGs and even Choose Your Own Adventure-esque interactive fiction pieces. When the party comes upon an obstacle, it's great to have a cutscene snippet ready to be played. This does not take away from the spontaneity of live interactions, but rather adds to the excitement with an unexpected addition. This Virtual Escape Room is a prime example. Though I still had to guide my players through the game, there were several audible points that helped to immerse them in the world.  
Lifestyles of the Fish and Famous- A Virtual Escape Room RPG Experience
Plot | Jun 1, 2022

Can you figure out a way to escape and save the world from litter by taking back your business from the clutches of an evil billionaire?


I also have a pick a path type story that I am trying to finish! If you'd like to check it out, you can, but I will warn you that, as of the releasing of this article, it is not yet complete!  
Teambuilding- A One-Shot Interactive Story Experience
Plot | Jul 7, 2022

WARNING: THIS INTERACTIVE STORY IS INCOMPLETE! PLEASE DON'T PLAY YET OR YOU'LL SPOIL IT FOR YOURSELF!!! TRYING TO GET IT FINISHED UP DURING CAMP. THANKS FOR CHECKING IT OUT. I APPRECIATE YOUR PATIENCE! GOD BLESS!

   

CREDITING YOUR SOURCES

Like any other art, it's important to give credit where credit is due. Whether the sound you are using is or is not your own, make it known! If you composed it yourself, let us know! Disclosing the software you used is also helpful to other creators who may want to try things out for themselves. If you commissioned a song, be sure to link the artist. If you found something random on the internet, note the site it was from. If you hired a voice actor (or just asked a friend) shout them out, too! I made this Voice Cast page showcasing all my talented voice actors complete with links to where else you can find them online (be sure to get permission and ask their opinion if you make a detailed bio page though).

 
Imaginaerium

I am honored to be featured in Qurilion's Imaginaerium project! It's an excellent resource for worldbuilding inspiration. Be sure to to bookmark the world so that you can reference it again and again all throughout and even after Summer Camp!
When using the mentioned methods of sprucing up your world, it's nice to keep our friends who have hearing impairments or those who don't prefer audio formats in consideration by adding transcriptions, captions, and alternative means of getting the information and mood across without forcing them to listen to actual sounds.

My current project?

 
Secret Agent Someone
  Follow an esoteric espionage elite with no name through a world of spies, surprise, and never-ending lies...  
Secret Agent Someone
Has This Article Piqued Your Interest?
  If you're ready to add your own audio elements but unsure how to go about it, worry no more! Below, I've linked an entire library of resources to help you get started.
  PS. This is by no means an all-encompassing list! These are simply some suggestions. If you have other ideas, feel free to post them in the comments below! They can help a fellow creator. Use your imagination. Anything is possible. You can also feel free to contact me anytime, anywhere, for more tips and assistance! ;)


 
I want to voice
something myself!
 
Where can I find
talented voice artists?
 
How can I
compose my own music?
 
I'd love to add effects
and ambiant tracks!

 

World Anvilite Shikya has done some interesting things in their world, implementing AI-Generated art and sounds! Check out the articles below for examples and inspiration.


 
Sand Serpent
Species | Jul 16, 2022

Flying snakes sound incredible, but I'll probably never see a living one.

The Scuttler
Vehicle | Jul 16, 2022

It sounds absolutely terrifying, but also incredibly clever.


I'm sorry, but I'm just not able to add audio!

That's okay. No matter your situation, you can still bring that extra layer into your world. Take sounds into consideration when you are describing places. Let a character break the fourth wall and talk directly to the reader. I do this a lot in the world of Secret Agent Someone.  
Commander McCox can often be seen in the sidebar "giving newbies the rundown". This little excerpt of his rantings lets the readers experience what it would be like if they were recent recruits at W.I.L.L.O.W.I.S.P.. It helps them feel special and in-the-know.

 

I hope you found this article helpful! God bless and much succes with all your creative endeavors!

Comments

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Master Watchman Deedly
Watchman Deedly
3 Aug, 2022 21:21

I am saving this article for future reference. (I have so much to do to get my world where I want it to be.) Wish me luck!

Watchman Deedly
"Death before Dishonor!"
Want to know more about the Watchmen? Come on in!

Eternal Sage Wordigirl
LexiCon (WordiGirl)
3 Aug, 2022 21:24

OOO Glad you found it interesting and helpful! My world is not at all where I want it to be in the future either, but yes. The key is making a little bit of progress one step at a time. ;) <3 God bless and much success with your plans! :D

Have an exuberantly blessed day!!!
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