Friday, May 24, 2013

Sound Resources

In the process of revising a manuscript AGAIN, I’ve been digging in to some familiar and newly-found websites to ignite my creative flame. (And, darn it, yes, I am able to make the manuscript better, even though I swore the *#@$ thing was finished.)  I thought others might find some of these resources useful. 

One of my revision goals has been to use more powerful and descriptive words, especially since this story uses a lot of onomatopoeia—sound words.  If words like sizzle, snarl, twang, whallop, belch, boosh, flump get you thinking and describing more vividly, then check some of these sites out. 

At Written, words are organized by topic: sounds of humans, animals, explosions, music, weather and more.  Kathy Temean’s blog, Writing and Illustrating has a child-focused list of onomatopoeia words.   Children’s author Rachelle Burk also maintains a list of almost 300 sound-evoking words

If you are writing YA, you have to check out UrbanDictionary if you haven’t already.  User-contributed definitions are current, colorful and... occasionally grown-up and graphic. (I'm just sayin', this site has over 200 ways to describe a fart.)  

Since my current project uses rhyme I’ve enjoyed the Rhyme Zone.  Extensive lists of rhymes, organized by syllable, include slang, common phrases and 'rare' words.   

For a quick, easily understandable lesson on the mechanics of poetry (using rhyme and meter to create a picture book, children’s story, or any poetry) Rhyme Weaver by Lane Fredrickson is a great resource.  

Given the many surf-worthy sites, the most basic and necessary weapon in my writer’s arsenal remains my favorite thesaurus: Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus in Dictionary Form.  This book lives under my monitor, offering inspiringly comprehensive word associations.  Online thesauruses abound (including and but sometimes, I find the print edition more practical.  And it helps prevent over-surfing. 

Nothing substitutes for your brain and hard work.  So with all these tools, the character still has to be active and relatable, the plot has to challenge that character, and the voice has to win over readers.  So...I'm headed back to my revisions!  

Any resources you love and want to share? 


  1. Neat, thanks for the links, I'll have to check them out. And I hear you on the over surfing thing...I do that all too often! =(

  2. Thanks for all these great resources, Julie! Rhyme Zone is definitely on my "speed dial" as a rhyming picture book writer! Looking forward to checking out the rest soon!

  3. I didn't know about Written Sound and immediately tried it out - a neat resource! Thanks so much for all your links and yes, I use a print thesaurus also because it saves surfing time.

  4. Love these resources, Julie. Thanks.

    I do use UrbanDictionary and signed up for their word-of-the-day email delivery. Always makes me laugh.

  5. Great resources, Julie! I LOVE Urban Dictionary, my search history is um, a little scary, lol.

    I also like The Bookshelf Muse which has a ton of great resources - the emotion thesaurus was so popular it's now a book! They have a character trait thesaurus too. Both of these resources have helped me get unstuck or to think about scenes in a different way.

  6. I love for naming characters.

  7. I'm glad some of you found some new resources. I have only recently discovered Urban Dictionary, which is a laugh out loud site! What people can think of -- amazing. I will check out The Bookshelf Muse --I've heard of the emotion thesaurus, and was wondering if it was good. And Nameberry too. Thanks guys!