10/19/11

Writing Devices by Rebecca Talley


You can change the feeling of your writing by employing some writing devices.

For example, if you are writing a tense scene where the protagonist is being threatened, short, choppy sentences will enhance the feeling you’re trying to create. Fast-paced scenes need shorter sentences to convey that quick movement. Think of a quickened heartbeat and you get the idea of how your sentences should be constructed.

Conversely, if you’re writing a love scene you’ll want to have longer, more flowing sentences to add to the romantic feel of the passage. Draw the scene out by using more words, even flowery descriptions, to communicate a sense of love and romance.

Other writing devices include:

Alliteration: using several words with the same beginning sound/letter. Example: “Across the arid Arizona desert she argued with herself for allowing him to confuse her again.”

Onomatopoeia: the word consists of the sound it makes. Example: “I heard the whoosh of the water a moment before it hit me.”

Anaphora: using the same word or phrase to begin three or more consecutive sentences. Example: “He knew she loved him. He knew she couldn’t live without him. He knew it was only a matter of time and she’d be his.”

Asyndeton: when using a list of three or more items, omit the conjunctions. Example: “I was happy, jubilant, carefree, innocent.”

Polysyndeton: using conjunctions, such as “and” or “or,” multiple times in a sentence. Example: “She talked on and on and on.”

Epistrophe: using a key word or phrase at the end of successive sentences. Example: “She opened the front door, afraid he might be there. She tiptoed to the bedroom, afraid he might be there. She checked the basement, afraid he might be there.”

After you’ve written your first draft and it’s time to edit, you may want to include some of these writing techniques to enhance your writing.

Rebecca Talley grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. She now lives in rural CO on a small ranch with a dog, a spoiled horse, too many cats, and a herd of goats. She and her husband, Del, are the proud parents of ten multi-talented and wildly-creative children. Rebecca is the author of a children's picture book "Grasshopper Pie" (WindRiver 2003), three novels, "Heaven Scent" (CFI 2008), "Altared Plans" (CFI 2009), and "The Upside of Down" (CFI 2011), and numerous magazine stories and articles. You can visit her blog at www.rebeccatalleywrites.blogspot.com.

5 comments:

Rebecca H. Jamison said...

Oh, you mean we're actually supposed to use all that stuff we learned in English class? Thanks for the tips!

Susan said...

Great list. I'm saving it to my desktop. Thanks!

Linne said...

Thank you!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Great stuff here. Sometimes it can be so hard to know what kind of variety to add.

Gina said...

Funny enough, Wikipedia has a list of literary devices with definitions and links to notable examples: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_technique I refer to it often :)