1. PhaiRo
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    PhaiRo New Member

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    Sound Effects in Novels???

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by PhaiRo, Mar 28, 2011.

    Is it okay to just make up sound effects??

    EXAMPLE: Bwraack!!

    lol...that was a tree being broken by a dinosaur...

    Know what I mean? Do authors make up sound effects or is there a database of aceptable sound effects somewhere?:D
     
  2. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    I think it depends on the tone and/or style of the writing in question. In an extremely serious and dramatic piece, it's unlikely something like that would fit in, and putting it in might ruin the flow of the story; in a comedy or a superhero-esque action story, perhaps it could work so long as it's not overused.
     
  3. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like the idea of a dinosaur hitting a tree :D

    Right, more seriously, this sort of thing is up to you. It's your work. If you have an idea and want to have a go at it, then go for it. From a personal perspective, I'll tend to not describe in phonetic terms the exact noise of, say, the hum of electricity running through overhead lines. I'd just describe it as 'white noise' or some such. But that's my way of working and there's nothing wrong with having thuds and crashes and wallops and bangs in your work as I've seen it done to good effect.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if it's for the younger half of the YA market, it will probably be ok... but otherwise, i'd stick to descriptions of sounds rather than trying to write them phonetically...
     
  5. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    Onomatopoeia, personally, is terribly amusing to me, which is why I could not help but giggle when I read that "Bwraack" had to do with a dinosaur hitting a tree.

    However, as many others have said, it's only good to put that in when it is a book targeted towards a younger audience (<14 years old). If older, however, it is best to put in less sound effects. You can use common words like snap, boom, whack, and others like that, but "Bwraack" would probably not be taken seriously in a novel meant for an audience above fourteen years old. Most people may think that it's childish.
     
  6. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Phfffffffft!
     
  7. Bay K.
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    Bay K. Contributing Member

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    Mmmm, I think you can make them up ... according to the best of your ability.

    Just make sure they enhance the quality of or spice up the piece.
    Don't use them willy nilly.

    And when you do use them, try and make the sound as close to actuality as possible.
    No wolf! wolf! of the pig ... duh!).

    And, use adequate narration / description around it to support its use and make it make sense. (Don't use wolf! wolf! without mentioning dog somewhere around).

    This literary sound effect is called onomatopoeia (phew!).
    Google articles and books on this topic.

    Good luck.


    ----------------------------------------------
    Be good, wise and strong
     
  8. barnz
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    barnz Member

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    Rock the onomatopoeia in the appropriate genre, as before stated, it suits comic books and YA markets. In more mature audiences, instead of the realistic sound appearing in your work, wouldn't it be more moving to describe the feeling the sound produces, combinations of common sounds, or the emotional response in the characters??
     
  9. sereda008
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    sereda008 Senior Member

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    I rarely see it, and when I do, it is aimed either at children or young adults. People usually expect a description of the sound.
     
  10. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Micheal Crichton (RIP) used "sound effects" to describe the roar of several dinosaurs. Most notably the T-Rex.
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Of course you CAN; it's not like the Novel Police are going to come and arrest you. You can do whatever you want. However, I agree with others that certain sound spellings will seem childish (probably this one included). ;)
     
  12. Still Life
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    Still Life Active Member

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    I'm not sure if anyone even answered the OP's question, with the exception of Bay K and Mallory. He was asking whether it was okay to make up your own sound effects, not whether he should or should not use them.

    I believe there's a whole set list of common onomatopoeia on the net somewhere, but as a writer, you've got automatic license to imagine your own. As long as it makes sense to the reader, go ahead and do it. :)
     
  13. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Well said. Like anything though, don't overdo it.
     
  14. PhaiRo
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    PhaiRo New Member

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    what about something like a sneeze??? If my character is coming out of the rain and he's feeling chilly...is this childish as well?

    I appreciate the responses!!
     

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