Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rhetorical Devices -- by PK Hrezo

What are rhetorical devices? Is that a rhetorical question? Erm, huh??

 

Learning about these devices in the craft of writing really helped me tidy up my prose and create a lasting effect. Here's what you should know:

Anaphora
Repeating a word or phrase at the beginning of three or four successive clauses or sentences. 

Example:  But her whole body was shivering, trembling, quaking. And she couldn't stop thinking about her empty bedroom. She couldn't stop thinking about that one window. She couldn't stop thinking that should she swear, she would swear that Ed had been standing there all along. 

Cool, right? It creates a lasting effect in the reader's mind. 



Asyndeton
Omitting conjunctions between words and phrases. 

Example:  To be honest, I had been restless. It had started back in the fall--this feeling of time passing, of being postponed, pent up, not wanting to leave the house. 

By deliberately leaving off the word "and" in the end sentence, there is a feeling of despair. 



Polysyndeton
The use of many conjunctions. Using "and" or "or" several times in the same sentence but without commas between them. 

Example:  She noticed the dark circles beneath his eyes. They appeared whenever he was sick or overtired or just worried. 



These three rhetorical devices are tried and true techniques writers use to create an effect. Try going back into your WIP and finding a paragraph or two to try these out on. Once I'd learned these and went back into my own WIP at the time, they made a huge difference. 

Hope you find them helpful. Are these new terms to you? Or do you already employ these devices in your work? Please share ...



4 comments:

  1. Thank you for these tips. I haven't tried (consciously) to use them, but now I'll pay more attention to where they might be effective.

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  2. I've used all of those--maybe too much, because some instances were nixed in the editing, lol

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  3. Great stuff, thank you! You explained how the asyndeton in your example created a good effect. Would you mind explaining what effect the polysyndeton example creates?

    Thanks!

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  4. Familiar with the devices but that they have names is new to me. ☺Thanks for the post.

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