Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter O


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is for Onomatopoeia




The term onomatopoeia describes when a word sounds like what it means. Some examples of this are hiss, bark, bang, and boom.

In my Alice Untitled YA novel, Alice finds she time travels when stressed. One of her triggers is onomatopoeia:

I’m having that dream again.

Footfalls tick in the hall, the beat slow and regular, counting down the seconds left in my life.

Click. Clack. Click. Clack.

A momentary pause outside of the grade three cloak room.

Shuffle. Spin. Click. Clack. Click. Clack.

The muzzle of the gun, shaft pointed directly at me like a dark, unblinking eye.

The flash after the trigger is pulled.

Tick, beat, click, clack, shuffle…these are examples of onomatopoeia. The use of them in a narrative helps to add the sense of sound. Rather than say he walked into the room, readers can practically hear the sound of the stranger’s footfall as he enters the room and Alice’s growing stress, foreshadowing another leap through time.

Take some time to write a passage using creative onomatopoeia. Share them in the comments below if you’d like feedback.

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2 Responses to Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter O

  1. Tasha says:

    I love that word and have done since my English teacher first explained it to us in first year. Onomatopoeia sounds great in a Scottish accent too (my English teacher was a little Scottish lady who favoured short Paddington Bear style wellies in the winter :)).
    Tasha’s Thinkings – AtoZ (Vampires)
    FB3X – AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

  2. admin says:

    That would be fun, hearing words like that with an accent. I wonder if your teacher had a chuckle every time she heard one of her students say it in a British (?) accent.

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