18 March 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 622, Onomatopoeia Example Sound Effects Tools for Developing Tone Q and A
Announcement: Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy. You can read more about it at http://www.ancientlight.com. Ancient Light includes the second edition of Aegypt plus Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness. I’ll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don’t confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
The theme statement of my 26th novel, working title, Shape, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.
Here is the cover proposal for Escape from Freedom. Escape is my 25th novel.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I’m on my first editing run-through of Shape.
I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.
- Scene input (easy)
- Scene output (a little harder)
- Scene setting (basic stuff)
- Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
- Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
- Release (climax of creative elements)
I can immediately discern three ways to invoke creativity:
- Historical extrapolation
- Technological extrapolation
- Intellectual extrapolation
Creativity is like an extrapolation of what has been. It is a reflection of something new created with ties to the history, science, and logic (the intellect). Creativity requires consuming, thinking, and producing.
One of my blog readers posed these questions. I’ll use the next few weeks to answer them.
- Conflict/tension between characters
- Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)
- Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme
- Evolving vs static character
- Language and style
- Verbal, gesture, action
- Words employed
- Sentence length
- Type of grammar
- Field of reference or allusion
- Tone – how tone is created through diction, rhythm, sentence construction, sound effects, images created by similes, syntax/re-arrangement of words in sentence, the inflections of the silent or spoken voice, etc.
- Mannerism suggested by speech
- Distinct manner of writing or speaking you employ, and why (like Pinter’s style includes gaps, silences, non-sequitors, and fragments while Chekhov’s includes ‘apparent’ inconclusiveness).
Moving on to 13. 13. Tone – how tone is created through diction, rhythm, sentence construction, sound effects, images created by similes, syntax/re-arrangement of words in sentence, the inflections of the silent or spoken voice, etc.
If tone is the feel of the writing, the author must start first with what tone he wants to convey.
The second method of developing tone is through tension and release. Let’s look at the specific tools used to create tone in tension and release (these can also be used in the scene setting). I like the list from the question—it is nearly exhaustive: diction, rhythm, sentence construction, sound effects, images created by similes, syntax/re-arrangement of words in sentence, the inflections of the silent or spoken voice, etc. Why don’t we look at each of these tools?
Sound effects are simply onomatopoeia, exclamations, or descriptive words. Here is an example of using onomatopoeia and descriptive words to create a tone. I’ll note it in the text so you don’t miss it.
As the entered the busier areas, Aleksandr slowed her to a more sedate walk. “We must use some caution,” he whispered to her. They made their way to the church. It looked almost the same as when they visited before. There might have been a slightly newer coat of paint especially on the icons, but the hard winters made each new coat wear a decade’s age in a single season. They walked around the back to the small house that sat behind the church. Aleksandr stepped up to the door and knocked. They heard some voices and a shuffling on the other side. After a moment, the door opened to the worn and friendly face of Aleksandr’s father, the priest Nikolay Aleksandrovich Diakonov. His father was slim and tall, like Aleksandr, but with a weather-worn and wrinkled face. He appeared much like Aleksandr only older and grey haired.
“Papa,” Aleksandr cried.
Father Kolya’s eyes widened. His mouth frowned. He yanked Aleksandr through the door and into the house. The door shut with a bang.
In this case we get a complete change in tone based on this word. I didn’t give you the full extent of the scene, so you don’t know that this is a very happy trip—until this point.>
Aleksandr grabbed him by the shoulders and laughed, “Papa, you left my bride on the steps?”
Papa Kolya just stared at him, “Papa, what’s wrong?” Aleksandr didn’t wait for an answer; he opened the door and let Lumière inside. Her eyes were full of joy until she saw the look on Papa Kolya’s face. She glanced down.
From the kitchen came the voice of Aleksandr’s mother, Vera Timofeyevna Diakonov, “Papa, who is there? Invite them into the kitchen.”
Papa Kolya jerked his head toward the kitchen door. Aleksandr and Lumière followed him in.
Aleksandr rushed directly to his mother and took her hands. She stared at him in amazement, “Sasha? Is it really you Sasha? After all this time?” Aleksandr’s mother was also tall and thin. She possessed a strong face that was aged by worry.
Aleksandr smiled at her and kissed her cheeks, “It is me, mama.”
Lumière with her head still bowed came around the table and into Aleksandr’s mother’s sight, “Hello, Vera Timofeyevna. I have come back too.”
Vera frowned, “What is she doing here?”
Lumière stared aghast, she dropped her eyes to the floor. Tears filled her voice, “I did not know what kind of welcome to expect, but nothing like this. What have I done to offend you and Papa Kolya?”
Papa Kolya answered with unconcealed anger, “Please sit, Svetlana Evgenyevna. You are not welcome, but we acknowledge you.” He turned to Aleksandr, “Should we escape for our lives, or is this simply a social visit?”
Lumière sat in the chair Papa Kolya pushed under her legs and laid her head down on the table.
Aleksandr remained standing, “Surely there is some mistake?”
“No mistake son, the KGB is persecuting the church in the Soviet Union again. It is very difficult for us. We expect them to shut down our small church here all the time.”
“What does Sveta have to do with this?”
“She was our spy in the KGB. She was the one who helped us then. She left when we had the greatest need.”
“She left because her organization was about to be purged. I forced her to leave the Soviet Union with me.”
“Father Alexius told us nothing about this. They put the story around that she had just disappeared.”
“She did disappear. I helped her escape to the West.”
This example comes from my yet unpublished novel, Shadow of Light. I didn’t give you the tension and release in this scene. This is the scene where Lumière Bolang, now married returns to visit her husband’s parents. As I noted, the “bang,” an onomatopoeia is used to immediately and decisively change the tone of the scene. The bang itself isn’t the changer—that is the tension in the scene, but the bang announces the change to the reader.
In most of my writing, I am very cautious of using onomatopoeia. The reason is that they are very powerful at changing tone or marking the changing of the tone. For this reason, I edited a very pronounced onomatopoeia out of the first scene in this novel. The word changed the tone too much. The tone was already action and danger with the threat of life. You might be able to shock your reader with a “whoosh, bang,” but what does that do for or against the tone? In any case, when you use an onomatopoeia, you must realize it will mark the change the tone and affect the reader. Both must be taken into consideration.
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