This morning I was discussing my latest audiobook experience with my husband. I very much like the story, but my one complaint is the frequent use of alliteration. Alliteration, of course, is the use of the same sound at the beginning of words in close quarters. Such as, beautiful bouncing baby boy.
A lot of authors use it and many how-to books and writing coaches encourage it as a useful tool in your writing. So what’s so annoying about it? Now get ready, because I don’t usually get too opinionated here. For me personally, it makes the words stand out too much. In some cases, that’s fine. A lot of entertainers or character names have alliteration. See also, Mickey Mouse, Lucy Lawless and Nicholas Nickelby. (How’s that for a strange cross section of people?)
Anyway, in those cases, it works great! You want your name to stand out, so by all means, alliterate away! But mid-paragraph descriptions in novels, I just don’t think it works. Example: “She walked up the steep, seemingly solid staircase.” Besides the fact that that is one of the worst sentences I’ve ever written, I think the nest of S’s is distracting. Instead of thinking about the staircase, or the peril the character may or may not be in, I’m thinking, “Wow. That’s a lot of S’s.” Two might be good, but three plus and you’re walking that lame, laborious line.
As my husband pointed out, it also works for tabloid headlines, because again, you want those to stand out.
Bat Boy Becomes a Baseball Player!
You get the idea.
Will I stop reading a book if it has alliteration? Of course not. For me, it’s all about story. But…is it annoying for me personally? Yes.
What are your thoughts? Do you consciously use alliteration? When reading, does it distract you or am I alone in this thing? (I could be! I won’t hold it against you if I am.) As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.