Monday, 28 February 2011

The Sound of Words

Continuing on the theme of language, I just came across a really interesting blog post on one of my favorite blogs, Edittorrent. The post is on the sound of words and argues that some words are inherently funny or emotional and that writers of good prose respond to this and incorporate it naturally into their dialogue and writing. I love the thought of this - it adds a new layer of sophistication to the craft of writing prose. For more of the actual post see edittorrent: Sound of words

I think this is perhaps most evident in names; some names are inherently humorous. For example, I call my daughter Morg or Morgy as a nickname because it suits her when she is in silly mode which is in fact much of the time (she's three, silliness is where it's at for her). The name makes me laugh almost as much as she does. It's foolish.

Then there are names which always carry an edge of sophistication. I have come across more than one author featuring a Lucien as a spymaster character. Perhaps it is something about the long vowel sounds and sibilants in the centre of the name which make it sound mysterious and duplicitous. It's hard to imagine a spymaster called Bertram. Or Fred. Or Archibald.

Many of the word choices I make - in dialogue and in proper nouns are chosen just because they sound right. I don't really think too deeply about why it is I'm choosing them, I just know that some are good and some, not so much.

Thinking about the sound of words will help me to be more self aware when tackling my writing and I hope that will deepen the emotional impact of my work.

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