SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

How to punctuate sound effects?

Discussion started on

I am revising a PB manuscript, and thought it would be more fun to replace some of the narration with the sound effect of the action taking place.   

For example, instead of saying, "The peas flew into the window,"  I want to say, Whoosh! Splat! Went the peas.  But how do I punctuate it?  Should I italicize the sound effects? Put them in quotations?  Do I capitalize "went" or not? 

And if I repeat a sound like, Squelch! Squelch! Went the mud.  Do I put an exclamation point after both squelches, or separate them by a comma and just put an exclamation point at the end?

Bah!  Help me! :stars
#1 - May 30, 2012, 08:34 AM
THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC (Boyds Mills Press, Fall 2018)

Official Shenaniganizer
Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region canadawest
I do whatever seems to work with the sound, quiet sounds I do lowercase in italics, big noises I do in all caps with an exclamation. I don't think there is really any standard.

and I would exclamation point each squelch!
#2 - May 30, 2012, 08:37 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

I think this is a personal choice, really. 

But for what it's worth, I wouldn't use quotation marks for sounds.  I might italicize them.  I'd go easy on the exclamation points--some of those sounds don't need one, in my opinion.  Squelch, squelch.

IMO, no need to capitalize "went" but it's a really unique situation to write

Whoosh went the peas.

Who knows what a copyeditor would say?  Do it your way, but try not to make it too manic.  A little goes a long way.
#3 - May 30, 2012, 08:39 AM

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region rmc
I generally italicize sounds and don't ever use quotation marks.  Like Artemesia, I tend to lower case the quiet sounds and upper case the louder ones.  In your examples, I'd say:

Whoosh! Splat! went the peas.

Squelch! Squelch! went the mud.

But, like others have said, people tend to do what works for them.  Good luck!
#4 - May 30, 2012, 08:51 AM
AN EYEBALL IN MY GARDEN, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
www.LauraWynkoop.com

Official Shenaniganizer
Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region canadawest
I agree with Jaina on not capitalizing went and not using quotations.

and yup, squelch itself probably wouldn't need an exclamation point as it's a quieter noise, but for big noises I'd punctuate each one, like BOOM! BOOM! they'd also work in italics BOOM! BOOM!

#5 - May 30, 2012, 08:53 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

Admins and Mods Emeriti
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
I write novels, not PBs, but both my publishers had me make all sounds in the text italicized. Or all uppercase and italicized, if it was a big, loud noise. :)
#6 - May 30, 2012, 09:55 AM
The Farwalker Trilogy
The Humming of Numbers
Reality Leak

www.jonisensel.com

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.