Sparrowsong's Workshop: Sound Devices

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:postit: 25th August 2008

This workshop is now CLOSED. SparrowSong is now reading the entries and will give feedback on Sunday. There are 9 entries for this workshop, please take the time to read them and share your thoughts, feedback and critique.

Brakes by 8ankH
Alliteration Amalgamation by Desert-Lilly
The Purest White by dimerization
Tough Love by Kitz-the-Kitsune
Siren’s Reverie by Konjuku
Lightminutes and Star Guts by mintleaves
Siren’s Song by Queen-of-Marigold
Two-Headed Lines by dr3amup
Artilleries in Arteries by X-lesbian-X

An additional entry was also made by 8ankH : Those summer nights

:postit: 2nd September 2008

There is just over a day left now before submissions for this workshop are due. Please get your entries in as soon as possible!

Thank you

:postit: 25th August 2008

Sparrowsongs’s Workshop:  Sound devices

SparrowSong has been on deviantart for four years, and was a judge in the LitCrit contest earlier this year.  She holds a B.A. in English.  She can be found in the literature forum, and in the literature workshop forum.

Sound Devices

You’re reading this workshop because you write.  Your tools of the trade are words.  So what is a word?  To give a very simple definition, a spoken word is a sound or a set of sounds that stands for something else.  The written word is a transcription of that sound.  That means that writers aren’t only people who put pen to paper; they are also architects of sound.

Since writing exists in at least two forms, written and aural, it is helpful to read a piece aloud when analyzing or critiquing a section; when critiquing a poem this should be a requirement.  The sound of a piece can be used to place emphasis on the meaning.  A light, playful poem may be sing-song like a nursery rhyme, while a serious poem may be slow and measured.  In prose, a chase scene may be written in short, abrupt phrases, where a chapter where two lovers linger by the brook may contain long, melodious sentences.  Most people study sound devices in school, but as a refresher course, you can find some basic vocabulary here:…

So what else can these devices do?  Meter (see meter guide here:…) is like a drumbeat underneath the poem, setting the pace.  Rhyme creates a pleasant repetition that links the lines of a poem together sonically, and like assonance, alliteration, and consonance, it can work with other devices or separately to make a harmonious, melodious sounding poem.  If the subject matter of the poem is about fighting and discord, it may be a better choice not to use a lot of assonance, alliteration, consonance, and/or rhyme.

For more examples, a more in-depth write-up can be found in this forum thread:…

* * *

Your task is to write a piece of poetry or prose no more than five hundred words long that uses sound to emphasize meaning, using whichever devices you choose.

* * *

Resources and Examples:

Guide to Meter:…

Poetic Sense: Sound and Imagery [discusses prose, too!]:…

The Sound of –um, well- Sound:…

Sound in Poems:

“Because I Could Not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickenson:…

“Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost:…

“Elegy in Country Churchyard” by Thomas Gray:…

“Daddy” by Sylvia Plath
sound recording:…

Sound in Prose:

“The Works of Edgar Allan Poe” by Edgar Allan Poe:

“Walden” by Henry David Thoreau:…

“The Innocents Abroad” by Mark Twain:…

How to Submit

After submitting your entry as a new deviation or scrap, send us a note with a link to your piece. Include the subject line "SOUND" in your note. The deadline is midnight September 3rd 2008. All times are set for GMT. SparrowSong will respond to the entries on September 14th, 2008.

A note from Writers-Workshop Please note that this is a Free for all workshop, meaning that we will accept both poetry and prose entries. Proofread your work before you send it in so that grammatical and spelling errors are minimal. And most of all, have fun with it!

:postit: On Accepting Critique

:bulletblue:Always thank the critic. This gratitude must be as sincere as possible, even if you did not like the critique given, because the critic has taken time to offer his/her opinion of the piece.
:bulletblue:If you do not like the critique, it is not necessary to mention so. Simply thank the critic and move on. You can always ignore their suggestions, while not making a scene of it.
:bulletblue:If you are unsure of what the critique means, feel free to ask the critic what s/he meant. Building rapport with your critic is one of the best ways to survive in a workshop and to learn. If you want examples, ask. Similarly, if you like the suggestions given, mention it. Critic's have feelings too. :)
:bulletblue:In the unlikely case that a critic offers rude/sexist/racist/etc comments, feel free to contact Writers-Workshop in a note and we will try to help you. A decision regarding the rudeness of the critique will be taken, and if we're not sure ourselves, we will consult with one of the GDs or anyone else high up on deviantART.

:postit: Call for workshop hosts!

We're looking for people to come along and host a workshop! Did you know that any member can partake in a workshop? If you have a good idea, then why not consider sending us in a proposal?

We ran a poll last week to find out why people hadn’t applied to host workshops and it turns out the main reason is a lack of confidence. We would like to encourage everyone to have a go, regardless of status, symbol or popularity. We’re looking for good workshops and want to ideally be booked up for the rest of the year.

So if you’re interested, take a deep breath and send in a proposal!

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