Word of the Week – onomatopoeia
In the corner of my mind the just right word is whispering to me until it’s silenced by the yammer of the holiday crowd. That’s onomatopoeia, the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it, (as buzz, hiss) or the use of words whose sound suggests the sense. The word is derived from the Latin and Greek. For readers who love such literary devices, try http://www.onomatopoeialist.com/onomatopoeia-y/
The advertising industry knows the words we find attractive: crackle, crunch or crispy. Other words make the reader want to avert the gaze: slurp, slimy or suck. If I were hoping to write a gruesome scene, I might find words that ooze across the slick page, oblivious to the yowls of sensitive readers.
On the other hand, a master might conjure up suspense more subtly. Consider Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls. “He saw nothing and heard nothing but he could feel his heart pounding and then he heard the clack on stone and the leaping, dropping clicks of a small rock falling.” As with most literary devices, a little goes a long way. I’ll be on the lookout for suggestive words to add color and variety and here’s my short list of favorites thus far: