Apr 17, 2012

O is for Onomatopoeia - Plus a Freebie!

O is for Onomatopoeia

Today's post is adapted from one I used previously - I've had a lot of dental work this week and am just not zippy with the ideas today. 

One of my favourite Onomatopoeia words at the moment is 'nom nom nom', the sound of Zombie Dog eating brains... and for just 2 days you can download MY ZOMBIE DOG for FREE

Descriptive words that sound like an action or noise when spoken out loud, create the effect of onomatopoeia. For instance, the word to describe water falling in small portions from a tap is called a drip - drip, drip, drip. Poets tend to have a natural talent for using onomatopoeia words, but they can be effective in fiction as well, especially if you're writing for a younger reader.

If you are anything like me, you can sometimes get overwhelmed by all these literary devices and rules that we should be including in our writing. My humble advice is... just write your story, when you go through in your revision you can tighten your plot, characters and writing style. These sound words are simply another way of showing instead of telling.

Imagine writing about a bad guy pointing a gun at his intended victim - instead of saying he shoots its, the simple word. 'BANG' lets the reader know what's going on and can make them feel like they are there. Here's an example of sound words I'm using in The Warracknabeal Kids:
THWAT (slingshot shoot at poor innocent chicken)
AUWK! (sound made by poor innocent chicken)

Sometimes I find examples that I don't think sound like the real action at all (like a dog saying 'woof' or 'Zzzzzz' for snoring). Really listen to actions and try to work out what sound they make, I've used: 'Hmmnn, Hmnnn?' for a puppy's whine. Have some fun with it :-)


  1. A great word, A good thing about the challenge one learns new things from other blogs. Thanks.


  2. Onomatopoeia can be like a party -- so noisy and much fun.

  3. that's a new word to me ...I learnt something new Thanks for that
    And oh yeah that's my favorite word too nom nom nom :D LOL

  4. Love your chicken sounds. :) I don't use as much onomatopoeia in my writing as perhaps I should, but whenever I do, I find myself arguing with spell-check...

  5. What fun! Onomatapoeia can add so much. I've only recently discovered 'nom nom nom' and I think it's wonderful - but definitely only for a dog. Cats are more 'nim nim nim' don't you think?;-)

  6. You put a comment on Poetry Jam, but did not link a specific poem (using Mr. Linky) that had a 'mystery' theme. You only linked your blog in the comment. Please head back if you have a 'mystery' poem to link.

  7. Nice post! I also wrote about onomatopoeia. Great minds. ;)

  8. Great word and writing tips. Trying to follow the rules can be time consuming! :D

  9. I like your idea of just writing and doing the revisions later. The rules make my creativity get stuck. ;-) Learned something new today. Thank you!

  10. i love this word--it is so fun to find them

  11. Bam! Another great word you have for us today.

  12. Hey Charmaine. Dental work, huh. Never nice.

    Love everything about onomatopaeia except spelling it, lol. It can certainly help in the 'showing not telling' stakes.

    See you soon!


  13. Onomatapaeia!!!! I almost did that as an 'O', because I LOVE, no, TRULY LOVE,onomatapaeias!!!!

    But, I decided not to...and haven't even done my 'O' yet, because I'm dwelling on my 'N', which I dearly love...but so glad someone did Onomatapaeia!

    I not only love onomatapaeias...but I love the sound the word ONOMATAPAEIA makes on it's own! It's a great word...like ZIPPITYDOODA!!!

    Texas Playwright Chick

  14. Onomatopoeia - now that's a word!