Thursday, September 9, 2010

Singing with Rhetorical Devices

Blogging today at New Kids on the Writer's Block. I'm discussing the rhetorical device, anadiplosis.

One way a writer defines and distinguishes her voice is through the use of rhetorical devices. Rhetorical devices can make your voice sing. There, I've already used one of the devices. Can you guess what it is?

I'll reveal it in a moment. First, I want to explain what rhetorical devices are.  Rhetorical devices are techniques the author uses to convey emotion, heighten tension, emphasize a point. The goal of rhetorical devices is to connect with the reader. To evoke an emotional response so that they connect to the character, to the story.

There are multitudes of rhetorical devices. During the next few weeks, I'll be discussing my favorites. I do suggest that if you aren't familiar with rhetorical devices to grab a book or two on the subject and take Margie Lawson's Deep Editing workshop.

So, let's look at my opening sentences:

One way a writer defines and distinguishes her voice is through the use of rhetorical devices. Rhetorical devices can make your voice sing.

Notice how I ended the first sentence and began the next with "rhetorical devices." I did this for emphasis. To catch your attention. To make the words buzz in your head so that you would remember them. I hope it worked.

This technique is called anadiplosis (an-uh-dih-PLO-sis), the repetition of the last word or phrase in a sentence to begin the next.

Using anadiplosis can empower your writing. Make it memorable. Make it stand out from the slush pile.

Cherry Adair, NY Times bestseller, uses anadiplosis in her best seller, Black Magic.

"The Archon paid him. Paid him ridiculously well. But he'd be ley hunting if he were doing it for free."

She could've wrote: The Archon paid him to ley hunt, but he would've done it for free.

See how use of anadiplosis made her sentence more powerful, more evocative.

Now you try. Take a paragraph of your current WIP that needs a little ummph and empower it with anadiplosis. Share it in the comments. If you've naturally used anadiplosis in your current WIP, show us too.

Happy Writing!
~kristal lee

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Lynn said...


I've never heard of this. Now, mind you, I've done it. Done it lots of times....

But that's because I like the way it feels and sounds. And I must have read some amazing author using the technique.

Thanks for giving it a name. I'll play with my work in progress this weekend.
September 10, 2010 5:19 AM

Kristal Lee said...

Since writers are also readers, I think we pick up on the techniques that feel natural to us without realizing it and then incorporate them into our writing. Taking Margie Lawson's class opened my eyes to the little things that make a big difference when writing.
September 10, 2010 7:42 AM

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