Re: What is your opinion regarding Onomatopoeias?

#1
*POP!*

Hi there! Liquid here. 

Immersion is really nice doncha' think? I try to be very immersive when writing in order to give readers the atmosphere and feel I am describing. And for me, onomatopoeias seem to have amazing potential for creating immersion. But I've heard or read from somewhere that I shouldn't be using them in creative writing, and ever since then I've avoided doing such.
 
What do you feel about the use of onomatopoeias in writing? Is it good? Does it translate well in written literature? Do you use it? 

Re: What is your opinion regarding Onomatopoeias?

#3
I think it really depends on your target audience. Onomatopoeia doesn't appear often in YA, NA, and adult fiction because it does seem to pull the age appeal down unless it's more fully integrated into the text. Take Ararara's example. 'I attacked relentlessly with my blade! Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh!' would appeal to a younger (under 16) audience, where as a more integrated approach ('I attacked relentlessly with a swish of my blade') appeals to an older audience.

Research the expectations of your target audience. If they expect onomatopia, use it. If they don't, don't. But if you're purely writing for yourself, you can throw that advice out the window. If you love onomatopia and don't care who reads your stuff, go wild!

Re: What is your opinion regarding Onomatopoeias?

#9
Having tried using them legitimately, since Ararara makes a horrible point of how authors actually use them (Not that Ararara's analysis of using them is wrong), in personal experience they never really work as well as you'd imagine. It's fair to think out a scene and imagine the sounds of everything nearby, but turns out just using an explicit onomatopoeia just draws away from that scene. It's immersion breaking and honestly a cheap way to describe what is making those two noises. Put it this way, you can either describe the sound of two weapons clanging, leaving it to the reader to later find out what is even going on, or you can outright describe the weapons. This can even be done in a single line, literally stating which weapons are banging against eachother.

Not afriad to say that I've never seen a single novel which uses them well, mine included, and that's because their sounds just don't translate well. I stopped using them because my writing style made them feel unnatural and forced. If you want prime examples of this, read some translated Korean action-fantasy novels. They really do like their onomatopoeias, and you're best off skipping all the meaningless words.

I partially disagree with the comment on all-caps though. They are used in place of shouting too often, but if you have a scene with a 'loud' emotion, it would benefit from the characters short, explosive lines to be in caps. Entire sentences are too forced though, and really come off as amateurish.

Re: What is your opinion regarding Onomatopoeias?

#10
I use them sparingly. Mostly for a surprise effect or to convey certain feelings (monotony above all else). Like every spice, it should be used sparingly.

Here is an example from my text, and I don't think it is that bad:


Quote:“Idiot!”
Swish! Thud!

“Unbearable, impossible coward!”

Swish, swish! Thud!

Noah’s sword hit the training pell with such force that it almost cut it in half.

In the flickering light of the torches, the lone figure on the training grounds swinging a red-patterned blade looked menacing. But that’s exactly how Noah was feeling right now – furious. And the worst part was that he had no one else to blame but himself.

Quote:“You owe me, duke Norden,” she said softly. “After everything, you owe me the truth. What you said…”
“Is the truth.”

In his entire life, it had never been so difficult for Noah to utter three simple words. The moment they left his lips, he regretted it.

The life drained from Lorelei’s eyes. Now they were like two empty wells – cold and desolate. Her pale face became even paler. She very slowly lowered her head and swayed. Obeying some inner instinct, Noah stretched out his arms to prevent her fall.

Pat!

With an unexpectedly sharp slap, Lorelei drove his hands away.

Everyone in the room froze.


Re: What is your opinion regarding Onomatopoeias?

#11

Bananalloy Wrote: Having tried using them legitimately, since Ararara makes a horrible point of how authors actually use them (Not that Ararara's analysis of using them is wrong), in personal experience they never really work as well as you'd imagine. It's fair to think out a scene and imagine the sounds of everything nearby, but turns out just using an explicit onomatopoeia just draws away from that scene. It's immersion breaking and honestly a cheap way to describe what is making those two noises. Put it this way, you can either describe the sound of two weapons clanging, leaving it to the reader to later find out what is even going on, or you can outright describe the weapons. This can even be done in a single line, literally stating which weapons are banging against eachother.

Not afriad to say that I've never seen a single novel which uses them well, mine included, and that's because their sounds just don't translate well. I stopped using them because my writing style made them feel unnatural and forced. If you want prime examples of this, read some translated Korean action-fantasy novels. They really do like their onomatopoeias, and you're best off skipping all the meaningless words.

I partially disagree with the comment on all-caps though. They are used in place of shouting too often, but if you have a scene with a 'loud' emotion, it would benefit from the characters short, explosive lines to be in caps. Entire sentences are too forced though, and really come off as amateurish.



Come to think of it you're right, I hadnt read one book that does onomatopoeias at all. And maybe my consumption of manga and anime made them look appealing for immersion. It was definitely a smart choice to ask ya'll before hand.

But the all caps thing I still cant get my head around. I think Serious and emotional scenes seem to have more impact with a few all caps dialogue sprinkled in.

Re: What is your opinion regarding Onomatopoeias?

#12
It's usually cringe, but I like it sometimes.

For example, it can say a lot about a character if they incorporate a lot of onomatopoeia into their speech. Maybe they're very expressive, maybe they're immature, I don't know. I like it.

I also like it when it underscores a dramatic moment with personality. For example, I remember reading a novel from the first personPOV of a psycho who blows up a kids hospital. The chapter ends with the word a sardonic "Boom." And I thought that was really cool.
Also, the last sentences of the Wasp Factory really really make that book amazing-

"Poor Eric came home to see his brother, only to find that (Zap! Pow! Dams burst! Bombs go off! Wasps fry: tsssss!) he's got a sister."

I usually don't like it when it's part of a third person narration. Because then it's weird. It takes me out of the story.

But really, that's just my opinion you should just do you, and make sure you have fun writing.

Re: What is your opinion regarding Onomatopoeias?

#13

RenamedUser8903457 Wrote: It's usually cringe, but I like it sometimes.

For example, it can say a lot about a character if they incorporate a lot of onomatopoeia into their speech. Maybe they're very expressive, maybe they're immature, I don't know. I like it.

I also like it when it underscores a dramatic moment with personality. For example, I remember reading a novel from the first personPOV of a psycho who blows up a kids hospital. The chapter ends with the word a sardonic "Boom." And I thought that was really cool.
Also, the last sentences of the Wasp Factory really really make that book amazing-

"Poor Eric came home to see his brother, only to find that (Zap! Pow! Dams burst! Bombs go off! Wasps fry: tsssss!) he's got a sister."

I usually don't like it when it's part of a third person narration. Because then it's weird. It takes me out of the story.

But really, that's just my opinion you should just do you, and make sure you have fun writing.



Yeah my stuff is in 3rd person, and i really do find it hard to insert onomatopoeias in. Only once or twice did I consider the use of one. 

Re: What is your opinion regarding Onomatopoeias?

#14
Depends. I like them a lot, but they need to be integrated into a sentence unless used for comedic effects. For example:

"The body went flying towards the concrete. Splat!" is not great writing. "The body went flying and splatted against the concrete" is fine, at least with me. You should always be careful with how the flow of a sentence goes, and a single word shouldn't stop the flow unless it's a good place for it to stop, like a point you really want to highlight. 

Re: What is your opinion regarding Onomatopoeias?

#17
Yeh, well, works in the comics and old batman TV series stuff - where it belongs.

Onomatopoeia, pronounced on- uh -mat- uh - pee - uh, is defined as a word which imitates the natural sounds of a thing. It creates a sound effect that mimics the thing described.

Some actual words in a language do that, due to their origins. However there is a difference in describing a sound, as in "The dog growled deep in its throat" and  "Gurrr."  One is onomatopoetic the other is not. One is literate expression; one is not. Save for humorous impact, I would suggest sparse use.

Re: What is your opinion regarding Onomatopoeias?

#19
I sincerely and honestly detest the use of onomatopoeias. I can think of no situation in which the onomatopoeias is a better choice than a short description. Let's take an example:

Clang tang clang bong

While you may have some idea of what the sound it, you won't know how it actually sounds like in the story until I tell you the context. It could be a couple of metal pans and pots falling down the stairs, or it could be someone beating an imaginary tune on an iron fence with a stick, or it's the sound of two fighters sparring with maces. If I'm going to describe it anyway afterwards, because otherwise no-one will know what it is, why the onomatopoeias? The worst thing, if the reader had the wrong sound in mind while reading it, it will pull them out of their immersion faster than you can say onomatopoeia.

This doesn't mean that you can absolutely never use them. It does mean that it's easy to mess up when using them.