Onomatopoeia, Alliteration, and Rhyme Help (page 3)

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By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Sep 15, 2011

Try This

To experiment with these kinds of sounds, write a paragraph as if you are:

  1. A person who is slamming the door and leaving the house because of a fight with someone you live with. Write about where you are going and what you hope to do there and what will be there and why it is necessary for you to leave. Do the words sound angry? Lonely? Sad? Where in the sounds of the words are those feelings coming from? What terms would you use to describe them: assonant or consonant slant rhyming? Alliterative, onomatopoetic?
  2. Now, write a paragraph that expresses the thoughts of someone who has needed a place to rest after traveling, running out of money, or having been thrown out of a situation. Write about what the person notices in the new environment. Again, ask yourself about the feelings the words convey, and check to see if you have used the sound techniques we've been talking about.

My experience is that when we are writing well from an emotional situation by using specifics and the five senses, the words almost automatically use slant rhyme, onomatopoeia, and alliteration. Our job as writers is to notice the tone of the words that sound right and then to weed out the words that don't convey the meaning we find in our words. For instance, at first, I wrote the example about the golfer this way:

He placed the golf ball on the tee, taking pleasure in the feel of its dimpled surface. When he hit the ball correctly, the thwack of his club left him exhilarated. He bent down to retrieve the tee and walked confidently toward his next shot, the wheels of his pull cart squeaking over the grass.

The word "squeaking" seemed out-of-tone, more like something annoying than pleasurable. So I substituted chirping, which seems merry, like the golfer in this situation.

When you practice with sound, make bold strokes and do the best you can. When you read what you wrote and work on revising, be sensitive to tone. Most of the time, once you are working "in flow," the in-tone words will dominate, but sometimes, you have to work a little to find just the right sound word.

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