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Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 43 Create Rhythm with Anadiplosis and Isocolon

Anna Diplosis is a cousin to Ann Timetabole. Ann chooses to reverse her stated ideas (you can see examples in Week 41) whereas Anna likes to take the last word of the statement and for emphasis repeat it as the first word in a juxtaposition.

Anna would quote John Keats, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty."

It goes a bit further with phrases as shown in Anna's favorite folksong by Pete Seeger and Joe Hickerson: " "Where have all the flowers gone... young girls have picked them
Where have all the young girls gone... gone to young men".

Now Iso Colon is a different fellow. He's particular about repetition, both in grammatical structure and in the same number of syllables.

He believes 'many are called, but few are chosen', and he likes to wear a Timex because 'it takes a licking and keeps on ticking'. But he's particularly partial to some advice his grandfather gave him. "How to succeed at business: Have a vision, know your values, and work like crazy."1

Anna and Iso can emphasize ideas or create rhythm in our writing, writing that will more clearly and effectively communicate to our audiences.

Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg. 240.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 42: Use Anaphora and Epistrophe for Eloquence

by Tamara Passey

If you missed the guest appearance by Yoda on last week's post by Valerie, go and check it out here. Don't worry, I'll wait. She introduces the techniques we will be discussing this week. As mentioned in the title, they are:

Anaphora and Epistrophe

No, I did not sneeze. No, I did not invent these words. And no, I did not find them in a catalog for exotic flowers. Though, like exotic flowers, if you can master these techniques they can add some beauty or (as Wilbers says) some eloquence  to your writing. 1

See what I did there in that paragraph? "Opened successive phrases with repeated words"2 --that's what classical rhetoricians called anaphora. 
A more eloquent example would be Patrick Henry's proclamation: "Give me liberty, or give me death." 
Can you see and hear how employing this technique makes the writing more memorable?

As for epistrophe, it is "closing successive phrases with repeated words." Like this: "Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat." (Excuse the digression, but I try to remember that quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald when I'm baking.) Or if you need another example, compare these two sentences:

"There's not a liberal and a conservative US; there's a United States of America."

"There's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's a United States of America." 3

(I'll try to remember that one during this presidential election season!)

I hope the difference is obvious between the two sentences. The latter has the emphasis and eloquence to drive the point home to your readers or listeners.

1. Mastering The Craft, Wilbers, p. 234 
2. Mastering The Craft, Wilbers, p. 234
3. Mastering The Craft, Wilbers, p. 236

Monday, October 12, 2015


Improve Your Writing, You Will 
by Valerie Ipson

If you thought your high school English teacher taught you everything you need to know about good writing, think again. Have you considered employing the use of antimetabole, chiasmus, anaphora, epistrophe, anadiplosis, and isocolon

Apparently these are real things...called tropes and schemes. They're techniques used in writing to create a particular cadence or rhythm. (The names are Greek.)

Some definitions: "Departures from literal meaning such as metaphor and simile are called tropes." (Who knew?) "Departures from normal word order are called schemes."1

We've all imitated Yoda's speech pattern a time or two. He employed a "scheme of inversion." 

There are also schemes of repetition and two of these are discussed in this week's lesson. I've actually heard of the second one, chiasmus: "the repetition of grammatical structure without repetition of the same words or phrases, as in 'It's hard to make time, but to waste it is easy.'"2 

I've seen poems that are written in this form, and I know there are articles written about how chiasmus is used in the Bible, and how the Book of Mormon is one big chiasmusAnother example of a line of chiasmus: "What is stolen without remorse, with guilt must be repaid."3

Now what in the world is ANTIMETABOLE? It's's the repetition of words in reverse order. Example: "Everyone who loves his country is a patriot, but not every patriot loves his country."4

There you can see repeated words on each side of the comma.

1 Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg 228
2 Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg 228
Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg 229
Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg 228

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 40 Use Periodic Sentences to Create Suspense and Emphasis

by Peggy Urry

Week 40 means there are only twelve lessons left. Only eleven more Mondays until 2016. Gah! Is it really mid-October? Yes, yes it is. Enough on that... 

Wilbers says, "In the old days [of writing], we would have been taught some two hundred schemes and tropes--schemes are structural patterns such as inversion and antithesis, and tropes are figures of speech such as metaphor."1

Theoretically, anyone can write a great and memorable sentence, but if you understand the type of sentence you're writing and how it works, your chances are much greater.

Parallel sentences (discussed in Week 39) create a pleasing rhythm through repetition of similar elements. An antithetical sentence (Week 25) "is a balanced sentence with contrary statements."2

Loose and periodic sentences mirror each other.

Loose sentences have a main clause followed by a series of parallel elements: "She peered into the dark room, fearing for her life, listening for the slightest sound, wondering if the murderer lurked within."2

The periodic sentence switches it up with the parallel elements first and the main clause following: "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she had to walk into mine." Dramatic delay creates effect.2

Use the loose sentence option when you want to keep things relaxed. When you want to tighten the screws, go for suspense, drag out the drama, your go-to structure is the periodic sentence.

This is a great chapter to read and re-read.

1 Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg 222
2 Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg 223