I did a writing exercise today from LeGuin’s Steering the Craft that turned out really well and got me excited about a Steampunk novel that I’m itching to jump into.
The exercise focused on paying attention to the SOUND of your writing. You could use onomatopoeia, alliteration, repetition, made-up words, but NOT rhyme or meter.
I chose to write about the major settings in my upcoming Steampunk project:
- A Factory
- A Gothic Manor
- An Abandoned Building
I found I needed to brainstorm before I jumped into writing. I made lists of sound words for the factory. For the other two locations I brainstormed descriptive words, but then chose to focus on ones with similar sounds.
The exercise went AWESOME for the factory portion. The sound words really brought the place to life, and I even created some made-up words that will become terms/jargon in my novel. The gothic manor didn’t go so well. I couldn’t come up with the right sound for that location. The abandoned building went better because I knew I wanted to focus on soft sounds because the place reminds me of hushed whispers.
I’d read a post earlier today on the blog Operation Awesome
where they wanted readers to finish the sentence “I love Harry Potter because…” One reason I love Harry Potter is because the names, places, and made-up words have such strong sounds that seem to match their intent. Severus Snape could be no one other than a slippery double agent. The sound of his name just FITS. And what could sound more evil than Voldemort? Rowling had a real ear for sound in her writing.
Maybe if I do this exercise enough, I’ll have the same skill she does in the area of SOUND. 🙂