Warm-up exercise

In her introduction to writing, Steering the Craft (1998), American writer Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) discusses the importance of what she refers to as “the sound of the language” (p. 19). Sound not only matters in literary writing, for example poetry, but an awareness of this dimension is also useful in academic contexts. Develop your ability to work with sounds by trying one of Le Guin’s exercises (p. 26). Note that you may also write a shorter text.


This first exercise is a warm-up, a playtime piece, to get listening to the sound of your writing:

Write a paragraph to a page (150-300 words) of narrative that's meant to be read aloud. Use onomatopoeia, alliteration, repetition, rhythmic effects, made-up words or names, dialect – any kind of sound­ effect you like – but NOT rhyme or meter.

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