My son was reading my most favorite picture book in the whole wide world The Book with No Pictures (isn’t the irony delicious?), when he got to THAT page.
You know the one.
No, not the bug-face one.
No, not the best friend in the whole wide world one…
The one that’s filled with all those silly sounds, Silly!
And my son’s favorite part of THAT page is the lines of eeee’s.
He starts it and goes… and goes… and goes…
Until he’s out of breath. Then he inhales a big gulp of air. And reads the rest of the eeeee’s.
And that’s when I realized – some onomatopoeia words are inhales. But some, like eee’s, are Exhales.
Now, you might not think it’s important to consider whether you’re breathing in or out on a word. But believe me, it becomes real important to your reader when they read that word out loud.
So, let’s think about it for a blog post or so.
Life and Stories are full of inhale moments and exhale moments.
Surprise, fear, and pain are inhale moments. That’s why a little Eek! Is very appropriate for such moments.
Now hold on there Buddy!
Yes, what is it?
You just said Eek! is an inhale,
Sooo, you promised Exhales today!
Yes, yes, I’m getting to that.
while a short Eek! is an inhale, try to inhale a long
And you’ll be choking on your breath.
That’s because screams are the release of those inhale moments.
But there are other exhales:
and - er -
So be mindful of how many letters you put in your word. Be careful that you don't overdo it, (unless you want a humorous effect) and your onomatopoeia will provide just enough exhale for the inhale moments in your story.
But of course, no matter how hard you try, I doubt you'll be able to get the quite the same wonderfully disgusted effect that Libby Chessler evokes every time she say, "Ew!"
P.S. I know this post is late! I’m working on F today and hoping to get caught up by Monday. Feel free to check out other bloggers who are definitely more on the ball than I am.
P.P.S. If for some strange reason you didn't know the page I'm talking about in The Book With No Pictures, then you definitely need to check out their official website.
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)