Saturday, March 2, 2013

Always Avoid Annoying Alliteration

Alliteration is a useful mnemonic device, especially in poetry. It helps you remember a line, as does rhyme. English is a rhyme poor language. Just think of lonely, friendless orange. Oh, there are the oblique rhymes for that famous word, but who wants to write a love poem about mange? Or orange, for that matter.

I am not writing poetry so I do not intentionally rhyme. Modern poetry makes much less use of it, anyway. Accidental rhymes are fairly rare. One quick read of a line or two and an accidental rhyme stands out like a mime in organized crime. Rhymes are easy to spot and easy to kill. Alliteration happens by accident more frequently than it happens on purpose.

Alliteration adds to a story like spice adds to stew. Too much makes it intolerable. The trick is, “too much” is in the ear of the annoyed. 

As mentioned earlier in this blog I have intentionally set myself up in some boxes with this current book. The alliteration box is not one I intentionally created, but it does exist. As I said, alliteration is easy and often accidental. Add to that characters who fly, characters who have fur, characters called phlox and a character named Fox and you have a flurry of furry flying phlox in a fury about Fox. 

I am constantly examining and reexamining alliteration in this book. I kill a lot of it, but sometimes it is so sweet it simply must stay. 

Did I mention that everyone needs an editor?

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