What I Was Reading:
As I neared the end of every little scrap and wonder by Carla Funk I came across yet another passage that at once transported my senses to the scene from the author’s childhood and into a memory of my own childhood. Her description of all the distinct gun noises that kids make while playing war were so perfect that I was simultaneously drawn into her narrative while re-living scenes from my youth. My mouth silently formed the noises she was describing, while my memory’s ears heard my childhood friends and I voicing the same array of gun noises.
What Moves I Notice the Writer Making:
- Specificity: The different gun noises are all linked to a specific gun.
- Onomatopoeia: Descriptions of the noises use original onomatopoeia.
- Functional description: By describing the gun’s firing mechanism, the reader is given a sense of the cadence the gun’s noise has.
- Physical description: The reader is encouraged to try each sound as they read because the author describes how the mouth is shaped and which part of the vocal system is used for that sound.
- Combinations: Most descriptions use a combination of multiple of the above-mentioned techniques in order to create a richer auditory description of the sounds.
Possibilities for Writers:
- Brainstorm noises and create an original onomatopoeia for those noises.
- Think of details you can include about how whatever is making the noise operates in order to give the audience a more complete picture of the sound.
- Describe the physical shape of the mouth or use of the vocal system in a description of a noise someone is making.
- Try to combine different noise descriptors to create a multi-faceted description of a noise.
- Explore other ways of communicating sound through text (physical sensation of the sound waves, rhythm, font, spacing, metaphor etc.).
Guest writer Michael Reeder is currently in the UNB education program, hoping to teach English Language Arts to high school students soon. He has always loved reading and believes that, since reading is one of the most powerful tools and individual can use to advance their lives independently, instilling a love of reading in students is one of the most important things a teacher can do.