Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Enhance Your Writing with Writing Devices

by Rebecca Talley

You can change the mood of a scene by employing some writing devices.

For example, if you're writing a tense scene in which the protagonist is threatened, short, choppy sentences will enhance the feeling you’re trying to create. Fast-paced scenes need shorter sentences to convey stress and anxiety. Think of a quickened heartbeat and you get the idea of how you might construct your sentences for that effect.

Conversely, if you’re writing a love scene you’ll want to have longer, 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. Take your time, don't rush the words.

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.”

Epizeuxis: repeating the same one or two words for emphasis. Example: "She was filled with regret. So much regret. Too much regret."

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 bathroom, 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.

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