Len's challenge: write a challenge.
This morning I had a great idea for Len’s challenge, so I rolled out of bed, the bedframe protested as I did so: crrrnkk!
I needed a little time to turn my idea into words, so I stared out the kitchen window until the kettle had boiled: lrbrdubrlrbrdubrlrbrdubrlrbrdubrlrbrdubrlrbrdubrlrbrdubrlrbrdubrTik-clunck!
Somewhere a couple of streets away, a boy racer was cruising with his stereo turned way up: Bom Bomm, Pssh! Bom Bomm, Pssh!
I spread some butter on my toast, chrrrsht, chrrrsht, chrrrsht. Shrft-shrft, and took a bite as the last of the pieces fell into place in my head.
My idea, if you haven’t already guessed, is the use of onomatopoeia.
Wikipedia defines onomatopoeia as “a word that phonetically imitates or suggests the source of the sound that it describes.” There are plenty of onomatopoeic words, words like drip, snip, screech, croak,or ribbit, for example, or perhaps burp, or fart, if you want to get scatological. And I always do.
They add colour to a story, in ways that a more traditional description may not. And if you can’t find a word to replicate the sound you want, you can just make one up. Take this, from James Joyce’s Ulysses, to describe the sound of waves breaking on Sandymount beach, “seesoo, hrss, rsseeiss, ooos”
Sometimes, these made-up words take on fame of their own. For example, many of you will likely know the meaning of quark; that is, a subatomic particle. How many however, know that the word came to life as Joyce’s description of a seagull’s cry?
"Three quarks for Muster Mark!
Sure he hasn't got much of a bark.”
That Joyce boy was a clever little bugger.
Using prose or poetry, write something that uses onomatopoeia.
You may want to use existing onomatopoeic words. Or, like above, you may want to create new ones. I especially like new ones, though I don’t know how Len feels about such wanton flouting of syntactical and grammatical rules.
What To Watch Out For.
Let your imagination and your sense of good taste be your guide. I personally can’t think of any sound that I wouldn’t like to replicate on the page, but I can think of plenty I wouldn’t like to replicate on Gather.