Friday, August 3, 2012
Rhetoric, Part One: Anaphora & Amplification
By Jill Williamson
Rhetoric is the art of using language. As you write, you use words to tell a story. Your goal as a writer should be to do that in a way no other writer does. Style is learned over time by reading, studying the work of others, and practice.
Studying rhetoric is a great way to learn tools that add style to your writing. You’ll still need to practice these tools to develop your own style in using them, but learning what they are is the first step. There are many different types of rhetoric devices that can help you convey your story in a more literary or stylistic way. I’m going to focus on two today.
Click here for a more in-depth list.
“…A mouse who consorts with humans, a mouse who would sit right at the foot of a man, a mouse who would allow a human to touch him”—and here, the entire Mouse Council indulged in a collective shiver of disgust—“cannot be trusted.”
The repetition of the phrase “a mouse who” builds tension as the Mouse Council is about to decide the fate of little Desperaux. Here are a few more examples:
Will he study the readings? Will he learn what it has to teach him? Will he live according to the lessons he has learned?
She held her baby very gently, very carefully, very lovingly.
Still they kept on, not knowing what lay ahead, not knowing what they would find at the end of the tunnel, not knowing they were so near to their goal.
In my hunger after ten days of rigorous dieting I saw visions of ice cream—mountains of creamy, luscious ice cream, dripping with gooey syrup and calories.
This orchard, this lovely, shady orchard, is the main reason I bought this property.
Pride—boundless pride—is the bane of civilization.
He showed a rather simple taste, a taste for good art, good food, and good friends.
Amplification can combine with another rhetoric device. Below I used both anaphora and amplification to describe the royal fortress Noiz in my medieval fantasy novel, From Darkness Won, though I think it got edited out.
“Noiz was a sanctuary for the royal family, a sanctuary in troubled times.”
Want to try? Go for it! Write an example of anaphora or amplification in the comments.