Friday, April 3, 2009

FIRST PAGE LIGHTNING: Add Power with Rhetorical Devices!


Petit Fours and Hot Tamales is thrilled to have Margie Lawson back in the house. For those of you who have missed out on her previous post, you're in for a treat. Here's a little about Margie:

Margie Lawson —psychotherapist, writer, and international presenter—developed innovative editing systems and deep editing techniques for writers.

Her Deep Editing tools are used by all writers, from newbies to NYT Bestsellers. She teaches writers how to edit for psychological power, how to hook the reader viscerally, how to create a page-turner.

Over three thousand writers have learned Margie Lawson’s psychologically-based deep editing material by attending her full day Master Classes. In the last five years, Margie presented forty-four full day Master Classes, in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

You may WIN a Lecture Packet!

For every 25 people who post a comment today, Margie will draw a name for a Lecture Packet giveaway, a $20 value. Winners may choose a Lecture Packet from one of her on-line courses:

1. Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More -- May 1 - 30
2. Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist-- May 31 - June 13
3. Powering Up Body Language in Real Life:
Projecting a Professional Persona When Pitching and Presenting,
June 14 – June 27

4. Part 1: Digging Deep into the EDITS System, October 4 – 17

5. Part 2: Digging Deep into the EDITS System, October 18 – 31

6. Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors, January, 2010

7. Empowering Characters' Emotions, March, 2010

THANK YOU to Debbie Kaufman and all the amazing Petit Fours and Hot Tamales for inviting me to join you all today. You all are the best!


First Page Lightning:
Adding Power with Rhetorical Devices
By Margie Lawson



You all know the three-second-rule. Right?

When you meet someone new, that’s how long it takes to form an impression. That all important first impression. That hard to reverse first impression. That colors-your-perception-forever first impression.

Three seconds.

Look. Blink. Smile.

Your three seconds are up.

Writers have a similar challenge to make a positive first impression on agents, editors, and readers. They have a first sentence challenge, a first paragraph challenge, a first page challenge . . .

The first few pages of most novels are the most rewritten. Writers scrutinize those pages. They revise, rethink, rework, rewrite, reject-and-start-over.

Having analyzed the first several chapters (and beyond) of over a thousand novels, I know what components add power to openings. Many writers overlook one of those options--the power of rhetorical devices.

My research reveals that some New York Times bestsellers almost always use the more obscure rhetorical devices in their first few pages. Harlan Coben almost always uses ANAPHORA in the first few pages of his books. In some books, he uses anaphora in his opening paragraph and several more times in the first chapter.

Lisa Gardner and Stephen White often use anaphora and epistrophe in their opening chapters too.

In my Deep Editing course, I teach writers how to use THIRTY rhetorical devices. I’ll introduce three of these devices in this blog. ;-))

We’ll dive into ANAPHORA first.

ANAPHORA – Using the same word or phrase to START three (or more) consecutive phrases or sentences.

From Harlan Coben’s NO SECOND CHANCE, opening paragraph:


I know that I lost a lot of blood.
I know that a second bullet skimmed the top of my head . . .
I know that my heart stopped.

Two more examples from the first chapter of NO SECOND CHANCE:

I remembered waking up that morning . . .
I remembered looking in on Tara.
I remembered turning the knob . . .

I longed for the numb.
I longed for the comatose state of the hospital.
I longed for that IV bag . . .

Here’s an example of using anaphora to start phrases. It’s from Harlen Coben’s THE WOODS, Chapter 1:

I have never seen my father cry before—not when his own father died, not when my mother ran off and left us, not even when he first heard about my sister, Camille.

Look what Harlan Coben accomplished in that line. He slipped in backstory. But with anaphora, it’s fast and smooth and intriguing.

Here are two examples of ANAPHORA, from Allison Brennan, FEAR NO EVIL,
Chapter 1. It’s two paragraphs.


Fourteen years ago she wanted the exact same thing as Lucy--to get out from under her parents thumb. But that was before she'd decided to become a cop. Before she realized how truly dangerous the city could be. Before she realized that justice wasn't always swift, that the system didn't always work.

That some murders would never be solved.

Stephen White used anaphora eight times in BLINDED. The example below is from Page 1:

It may sound goofy, but I also believed that on good days I could smell the spark before I smelled the fire and I could taste the poison before it reached my lips. On good days I could stand firm between tenderness and evil. On good days I could make a difference.

OKAY! What makes ANAPHORA powerful?

The rhythm . . .
The auditory echo . . .
The repetition of the message . . .

Anaphora speaks to the reader’s subconscious.

Using anaphora makes the read imperative.

Let’s look at another rhetorical device. EPISTROPHE. This one is even more obscure than anaphora. I’ve found 20 times more examples of anaphora, than epistrophe. Yet, it’s equally powerful.

And it’s as fun to write as anaphora. I used epistrophe to draw you into this blog. It’s in my second paragraph, and in my sixth paragraph.

EPISTROPHE – It’s the opposite of anaphora. Using the same word or phrase to END three (or more) consecutive phrases or sentences.

When you meet someone new, that’s how long it takes to form an impression. That all important first impression. That hard to reverse first impression. That colors-your-perception-forever first impression.

They have a first sentence challenge, a first paragraph challenge, a first page challenge . . .

Here are more examples of EPISTROPHE from bestselling authors:From Michael Connelly, the opening lines from THE BRASS VERDICT:


Everybody lies.

Cops lie. Lawyers lie. Witnesses lie. The victims lie.

A trial is a contest of lies. And everybody in the courtroom knows this. The judge knows this. Even the jury knows this. They come into the building knowing they will be lied to. They take their seats in the box and agree to be lied to.

The trick if you are sitting at the defense table is to be patient. To wait. Not just for any lie. But for the one you can grab on to and forge like hot iron into a sharpened blade. You then use that blade to rip the case open and spill its guts on the floor.

That’s my job, to forge the blade. To sharpen it. To use it without mercy or conscience. To be the truth in a place where everybody lies.

Here are the first four paragraphs of HIDE by Lisa Gardner:

My father explained it to me the first time when I was seven years old. The world is a system. School is a system. Neighborhoods are a system. Towns, governments, any large group of people. For that matter, the human body is a system, enabled by smaller, biological subsystems.

Criminal justice, definitely a system. The Catholic Church—don’t get him started. Then there’s organized sports, the United Nations, and of course, the Miss America Pageant.

“You don’t have to like the system,” he lectured me. “You don’t have to believe in it or agree with it. But you must understand it. If you can understand the system, you will survive.”

The family is a system.

LISA GARDNER used the word SYSTEM eight times. Plus—one use of SUBSYSTEM.

She nails the reader again and again and again with that regimented word, system. And she brings it home with her last sentence: a spotlighted, stand alone sentence.

The family is a system.

There’s a page break after that line—then the story kicks in with a vengeance. ;-))

I’ll share one more rhetorical device – SYMPLOCE.

SYMPLOCE uses a combination of anaphora and epistrophe – in the same sentences.
The SYMPLOCE example below is from Christa Allan. Christa attended a Master Class I presented. This is her prologue for her recently contracted first book, WALKING ON BROKEN GLASS.

PROLOGUE
If I had known children break on the inside and the cracks don’t surface until years later, I would have been more careful with my words.

If I had known some parents don’t live to watch grandchildren grow, I would have taken more pictures and been more careful with my words.

If I had known couples can be fragile and want what they are unprepared to give or unwilling to take, I would have been more careful with my words.

If I had known teaching lasts a lifetime, and students don’t speak of their tragic lives, I would have been more careful with my words.

If I had known my muscles and organs and bones and skin are not lifetime guarantees that when broken, snagged, unstitched or unseemly, can not be returned for replacement, I would have been kinder to the shell that prevents my soul from leaking out.

If I had known I would live over half my life and have to look at photographs to remember my mother adjusting my birthday party hat so that my father could take the picture that sliced the moment out of time- if I had known, if I had known- I would have been more careful with my life.

KUDOS TO CHRISTA ALLAN! I’m looking forward to reading WALKING ON BROKEN GLASS. It will be released in the spring of 2010.

With anaphora, epistrophe, and symploce—once you’ve established the repetition three consecutive times, you can play with it. You don’t have to stop at three. You can have a sentence or two following the last repetition, that don’t carry the repetition. The last sentence could pick up the repetition and end with a rhetorical punch.

This blog focused on using rhetorical devices to add power to first pages. They can be used to add power anywhere. Writers could use this stylistic power at the opening of any scene, at turning points, before a page break, at the end of a chapter.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN!

If you have an example of an obscure rhetorical device in your work, please post it.

If you’d like to write an example of an obscure rhetorical device, one you may decide to use in your WIP, please post it!

Post a comment - and YOU COULD WIN A LECTURE PACKET!

Lectures from each of my on-line courses are offered as Lecture Packets through Paypal from my web site. For more information on my courses, lecture packets, master classes, and 3-day Immersion Master Class, visit my web site: www.MargieLawson.com .

The WINNERS will be drawn at 9PM tonight – and I’ll post the winners on the blog.

Thank you for joining us today!

All smiles…………….Margie

99 comments:

Debbie Kaufman said...

Morning Margie:
Thanks for taking time out from your busy schedule to visit with us. Wow! Great post!

Here's my example of anaphora:

Getting shot was a bitch.
Every time.
Micah wasn’t focusing on the fall leaves turning red. He wasn’t focusing on the beauty of the rolling Georgia mountains. He wasn’t focusing on anything but his burning desire to not die.


And here's my example of asyndeton:
Pain burned, throbbed, drove him toward his goal.

Cyrano said...

Margie,
I attended your workshop at a conference and learned so much. You're not only an entertaining and lively speaker, but a wise one too.
It was so nice to read your post this morning because I'd forgotten about epistrophe and symploce. The two are just as powerful as anaphora and it's good to get a reminder to use them.
After attending your work shop I realized I already used anaphora in my work. I had learned the style from reading Jeffrey Deaver, but had no name for the rhetorical device until I met you.
I tried to locate anaphora in my WIP, but getting teens off to school is making it tough. I'll look later when I have more time and post it for you.
Thanks again so much for visit PFHT. You are an inspiration.
Have a lovely day,
Tamara

Ellen said...

Hi Margie!
Thanks for such an inspiring post---just what I needed to improve my current WIP.
Hope your day is wonderful!
Eleln

Marilyn Baron said...

Margie,

This was a great post. You made these obscure rhetorical devices understandable with concrete examples. Thanks so much for blogging with us and offering advice that will improve our writing.

Here's an example of anaphora from the opening of my current work in progress:

Traci Farris had been running for what seemed like miles. Running away from Jack Armstrong's apartment. Running away from what would have been an ugly confrontation with Jack's fiancee, Flippy. Running away because she'd rather die than face Flippy and relive that look of shock and betrayal on her best friend's face. Running until she nearly collided with a concrete bus bench.

Marilyn Baron

Margie Lawson said...

Debbie -

Loved your anaphora, your asyndeton, your style, your writing!

Ha! I used asyndeton and anaphora in the line above.

Thanks for sharing. Great job!

I didn't specify that RD examples had to be from your first page.

If your example is from your first page, let me know. If not, could you add an RD to your first page? :-))

All smiles..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Tamara --

Hello! Which conference?

Ah -- Jeffery Deaver is a master at writing craft. He uses anaphora, but he must not know about epistrophe.

If you have time to post a few examples, I'd love to see them.

Let us know where you placed your obscure Rhetorical Device (RD) power!

Thanks for chiming in.

All smiles........Margie

Emma Lai said...

Great information! As a newbie I'm definitely interested in learning how to write more powerfully. Thanks for the tips!

allison said...

Hi Margie--Wow, I didn't realize what I was doing. It just sounded good when I wrote it. As you know (because we've talked about it!) I read most of my books out loud--usually during editing, but sometimes even as I'm writing a paragraph. I can usually tell right away if the rhythm is off. Sometimes I don't know how to fix it . . . :)

AS usual, I learn something new every time I listen to you!

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Ellen --

Yay! You're motivated to power up your WIP with a stylistic punch. :-)

Excellent!

All smiles........Margie

Edie said...

Margie, this is fun! I love reading your blogs.

My examples is the second paragraph of my wip, and I'm using epistrophe. I'm throwing in the preceding sentence so it makes sense:

She, her mother Liss, her aunt Ki and her cousin Deena strutted through the gleaming casino with the one thing that gave them freedom.

Money. Bundles of money. Their purses stuffed with money. Lovely, lovely money.

Margie Lawson said...

Marilyn --

Running from Flippy! Fun example. ;-)

Look how much more powerful it is than if you'd written:

Traci Farris would rather rather die than face Flippy and relive that look of shock and betrayal on her best friend's face.

An interesting line . . . but no punch. With your anaphora - you've got big-time power!

AND - It's from your OPENING. WOOHOO!

Thanks for posting!

All smiles.......Margie

Maria Connor said...

This was the first time I had ever heard of rhetorical devices, and I feel like I've taken my skill level up several notches by learning this. Thanks for sharing.

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO EVERYONE!

My Friday work day is busy. I'll pop back on-line for about an hour at noon, Mountain Time, and be back on-line again about 5PM and for the rest of the evening.

Happy Friday!

All smiles.......Margie

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hey Margie:
Both my examples were from the first half of the first page!

Janet Lane said...

Good morning, Margie. You never cease to inspire me. Thanks for the great examples. If I am to shine with my fireside writer's chats, however, I'll need to know how to pronounce that third rhetorical device, "symploce." Hugs, Janet

stefwithnf said...

Margie, you never fail to inspire! See you in class in May, and in Boise in June. I'm looking forward to meeting you in person! :D

These two examples are from the first 3 pages of my current WIP, a paranormal (or urban) fantasy. We are in Iain's head.

Magic was normally as logical and tangible as E=MC2. He wasn’t supposed to wish his alarm clock into non-existence. He wasn’t supposed to feel something respond. He wasn’t supposed to watch with bleary eyes as the dancing Mickey dissolved, its luminous clock face fading before winking out like the grin of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.

If he slipped, if he failed to control it, if he blundered in front of mundanes, he’d be pariah. Pariahs were allowed no latitude; the Blades would take him away. He’d never see home again, never go to college, never achieve space flight.

Thanks heaps for your great classes. *hugs*
Stefanie

Anna McLain said...

Margie,

Great article! Thanks for the explanations.

I don't have any examples from my own work right now. I know I use anaphora a lot. Don't know about the other two, though probably.

I think that one would need to be careful with epistrophe because, for me, too many repetitions too close together make the paragraph more of a drag to read.

Looking forward to your May class!

AnnaM.

Eden Glenn said...

Very interesting blog today. I am inspired! Concepts I had never though about. WoW Thanks.

Ginger said...

Hi Margie!

This is how powerful these rhetorical devices can be: The example you posted from Walking On Broken Glass pulled tears from my eyes. It SPOKE to me. No. Make that SHOUTED to my heart.

Excellent--thanks for the lesson, Margie!

Kelly Lee said...

Margie,

Thanks for the great post. I can't wait to take your online deep editing class in May.

I learned a lot from your post - I recognized the devices but didn't know they were actually devices and certainly didn't know what they were called.

So here's my attempt to practice - I rewrote the first paragraph of my romantic suspense:

Expert hackers could wreak havoc on a city. By breaking the right codes they could control the computer systems: the traffic system, the medical system, the financial system, the legal system.

Most cities turned to Watchtower Security for help. Watchtower’s systems were impenetrable. More than once, their security specialists saved the public from disaster - without civilians, or even officials - hearing a whisper of danger.

But at 4:17 am, a hacker changed all that. At 4:17 am, Watchtower’s protective shields were disabled. At 4:17 am, all hell broke loose in Atlanta. At 4:17 am, Rowan got the call, and knew her career was over.


Thanks!
:) Kelly

Susan May said...

Margie thanks for being here. I always learn something new and useful from you.

The Writers Canvas said...

Great post!

Here's my example:

***
One decision had changed comfort to loneliness. One decision had shifted laughter to silence. One decision had transformed hope into desperation.

When did choices gain so much power?
*******

Thanks for the blog today!
Elaine

Regan L said...

Hi Margie,

Since you asked, here's a quick attempt at anaphora. I was working on the opening for my new WIP anyway, so here's the first draft of the first few lines. (This WIP is the sequel to the one you saw snippets of in ECE.)

*******
She didn’t remember speaking the numbers even once. Six...Twenty-two...Three.

She didn’t remember repeating them obsessively as either a mantra or a prayer as she lapsed in and out of consciousness. Twenty-two...Three...Six.

She didn’t remember which came first, having apparently recited them thousands of times strung together in a circular echo. Three...Six...Twenty-two.

But worse than all of that, FBI Special Agent Petra O'Shaughnessy didn’t remember why she cared.
****

What a fun warm-up for May. And what a great new blog to have discovered.

Cheers,
Regan L

Valerie Everhart said...

Awesome article! Margie has sooo much to offer a writer. Every time I read something new from her, I'm learning again!

Pam T. said...

Now I'm spoiled - I didn't know there was a term for doing that sort of thing. I just knew it sounds good and creates an interesting sort of tension for the reader.

And now I'm off to sign up for one of Margie's classes.

(Thanks to Regan for tipping me off on this great blog and on Margie's posts!)

Judi Romaine said...

HI Margie - I just stopped by to say hello and how much I love your workshops - I've been to three live and one on-line in the past six years I've been writing. SInce I took them I my 3rd book was accepted by The Wild Rose Press and is coming out this September. My 1st and 2nd books while published by a small press definitely are lacking without the things your course brought to my writing. I am actually rewriting the first two books to hopefully publish with TWRP also once I use all your great techniques on these books! thanks again - Judi (Lynn Romaine) Long Run Home due out 9/18/09

Berta said...

Fabulous and useful post, Margie! I missed your workshop at M&M last year because of other duties, but I'll definitely catch one next time you're close by.

Anonymous said...

Margie,

Thank you so much for being with us today. Your posts are always a pleasure to read and food for us to digest.

I never knew the names, thank you for those, but I had used them a few times. I will definitely use them more often in the future.

Look for me in an on-line class in May.

Sandy Elzie

The Writers Canvas said...

By the way, Petit Fours and Hot Tamales, I gave y'all a link on my blog today so people know to come over here and check out Margie's info!

http://thewriterscanvas.blogspot.com/

Thanks!
Elaine

Walt Mussell said...

Margie, I loved your "emotions" course in March and your seminar at M&M. I learned a lot. The example below is from my WIP.

The samurai showed Takamitsu a picture of a cross and ordered him to renounce Christ or lose his holdings. Takamitsu held to his beliefs. One by one, other members of the church were shown the cross. One by one, they professed their faith. One by one, they lost businesses and farms. In a few minutes, an entire community was impoverished.

Margie, thanks for all you teach.

PJTrader said...

Regan made me do this -

Time heals a broken heard, renews hope, and grants rebirth. Time changes perspective, opportunity, and desire. Time turns young to old, steals fond memories, and erases sin.

The one thing time never changes is the presence of evil.

(Might have overdone the series of threes, eh?)

Thanks for kickstarting the creative process, Margie!

Betsy said...

Thanks so much for these - what great things to think about. I looked through the opening scenes of one of my current WIPs and realized these might be able to strengthen them quite a bit. Thanks!

Carol Burnside said...

Since taking your courses, I'm much more aware of the rhetorical devices I use and when to use them for power.

I used Epizeuxis and Anadiplosis in the first two pages.

(In this example, Carly has arrived in Honolulu and finds out about the fourth change in her idyllic vacation plans.)

“I misunderstood. We’re sharing the condo with my Uncle Ethan. But don’t worry. He’s cool.”

Dammit, dammit, dammit! Instead of JoJo’s progressive-thinking parents, she’d be alone with some old geezer for ten days. Carly couldn’t share in her friend’s optimism. She really needed this vacation. A lot more than she’d let on.

She concentrated on taking slow, even breaths. Don’t get upset. Don’t panic. Don’t stop breathing. Pressure tightened her chest and a hot acidic sensation seared her stomach, but she fought it off. This time.
=========
Thanks for being here, Margie, and challenging us to become better writers!

Maxine Davis said...

I did not know that is what they were called. I just know that anaphora, epistrophe & symploce reach out and grab me and I usually buy the book.

I'm (once again!!) looking over my WIP to see where it can be improved. I can't wait to try one of your workshops. Thank you for the post.

Rosemarie said...

Thank you Margie! I just finished your on-line ECE course (as a lurker). Am still working through it but what I've learned has already taken me to a new level.

Ok, so here's my intro from the my WIP (that I rewrote slightly to reflect your anaphora lesson):

Did I scream? My brain refuses to cooperate.

Did I scream as dancing flames create a kaleidoscope of deadly color around me. Hues of red, yellow and orange spin in kinetic undulation about intense white cores

Did I scream as the warm breath of flames caress my face.

I gasp, and sit up with a start. The room is quiet. It always is.

The doctors tell me my incubus will go away. The doctors say that will take time. At least that is what the doctors say.

I sigh and begin another day.

Mary Marvella said...

Wow, I love what you said. Do you have any idea how often writers who critique mess with others' devices by questioning the use of repetition?


From a women's fiction of mine, I tried to repeat words and concepts.

First sentences.

The forty-year old virgin was a virgin no more. I stretched under my covers, sore in places never used before last night.

Staring overhead, I listened to the whirling ceiling fan. No cranky voice yelled my name like a curse this morning. Never again would my father’s voice wake me with his complaining. “You move too slow, girl! Where’s my medicine? I’m hungry!” Relief outweighed regret for me.

I rubbed my face on the cool pillow and breathed in its freshly laundered scent, a hint of Fragrance Free Bounce Dryer Sheets. Memories of last night teased their way back through my drowsy thoughts.

Did I actually sit in a restaurant last night, sipping a sweet, frothy drink from a stemmed glass? Edna Mae Withers, plain, gawky daughter of the late Jonathan and Maggie Withers had eaten with a man.

Defiant for the first time in too many years, I’d left my house with the last of father’s mourners and


then later

“Sam?” I glanced at my alarm clock.

“Ten o’clock?” I tossed off the covers and bounded from bed, my thighs achy. My stomach knotted. Father’s breakfast is late. He’ll have a fit. No he won’t, he won’t ever yell at me again. I’d slept late for the first time in years.

I'm sure I have a better example around somewhere!

Nancy said...

Hey, Margie! I don't need to be entered, but wanted to say bravo! Your posts are always fab!

Light,
Nancy Haddock
www.nancyhaddock.com

terrio said...

I've been fortunate enough to take two online courses with Margie and they are always amazing. Unfortunately, I was also taking regular college classes both times so I never got to dive into the text completely. So I have a Margie Lawson binder and once I finish my degree in June (YIPPEE!) I plan on diving in and having my own Master class experience.

I don't know how anyone could take any of Margie's courses and not come out a better writer. So thank you for everything you do for the writing community. It's much appreciated!

Marilyn Baron said...

Thanks for your comment, Margie.
I wrote that after taking your workshop at M&M. I've noticed that a lot of writers use that device, now that I'm on the lookout for it. They probably learned it from you.

Marilyn Baron

Margie Lawson said...

Emma Lai -

Great to e-meet you!

With your cool name, I'll remember you -- and that you're a newbie. :-) I look forward to seeing you on-line again.

Best........Margie

Patty Wysong said...

Hi Margie!
Your lessons are always so good--packed with info and understandable. Thank you! I'll see you class, hopefully in May, and if not then, then in a shorter one. ; )
~Patty

Diane Della Maggiora w/a Diana Layne said...

Hi, Margie,

read your post, got sidetracked going back over and reading my work until I realized I had a big long to-do list, and then I totally forgot to post a comment.

So far I've come across an example of anophora but it's too drawn out so I need to work on it.

And last, I wanted to say thanks! For the first time ever after years of entering, I'm a Golden Heart finalist this year! And I know in part it's because of the writing and editing techniques I learned from you have made my work stronger (tho obviously I still need more work! :) )

But I'm really excited, and always trying to improve, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Your lectures sound very interesting!
Sunny Christian

Tami Brothers said...

AWESOME STUFF!!!! I'm madly trying to read everything and copy it into a word document. Margie, you are so fabulous to share this information with!!!

And a huge thank you to all our readers who were willing to share pieces of their stories...

LOVE IT!!!

jwhit said...

Hi, Margie. Just made a note to add this strategy in appropriate places in my work. Now an observation and a question:

All bar two of the examples are in first person. Connelly's is in third about telling lies, and Allison's is the opening where we don't quite know the pov of the main character yet.

Do you think rhetorical devices work best and are less 'writer intrusive' in first person pieces since the rhetoric is attached to the character instead of a disembodied narrator?

The reason I ask is that it seems to me to be more 'lecture'-like because it *is* a rhetorical device and therefore could come across as too 'preachy' if not handled carefully.

Thoughts?

Jan

KathyW said...

Great post, Margie. Particularly timely to remind me that it is okay to repeat words, in spite of what critiquers say.

Here's something from the start of my current wip.

Vultures.
She hated them. She hated them particularly when they exploded out of a mesquite bush, startling her young horse. She hated them even more for the bucking fit they provoked.


(A paragraph later)


Calley spied the metal container lying near a small saguaro. A sharp, metallic tang hit her nose as she swung off the saddle. Blood. That explained the vultures’ presence—they always came to blood. It also explained Scout’s aversion. He’d never before smelled blood.

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Emma Lai --

Great to e-meet you. Writing with power creates page turners. :-)

Drop by my web site, click on DEEP EDITING ANALYSES, and you'll find more examples of adding power. Plus, you'll read about my contest, my newsletter, and my on-line courses.

Thanks for dropping by!

Margie Lawson said...

EDIE -

Kudos to you! Loved your example of epistrophe -- and loved hearing it's in your second paragraph. :-))

Thanks for posting!

Margie Lawson said...

MARIA --

WOOHOO! You have so much fun learning--and writing--ahead of you. I encourage you to drop by my web site and read about my DEEP EDITING course. I'm offering it on-line in May. Those 30 rhetorical devices are amazing!

Thanks for chiming in!

All smiles...........Margie
www.MargieLawson.com

Margie Lawson said...

MARIA --

WOOHOO! You have so much fun learning--and writing--ahead of you. I encourage you to drop by my web site and read about my DEEP EDITING course. I'm offering it on-line in May. Those 30 rhetorical devices are amazing!

Thanks for chiming in!

All smiles...........Margie
www.MargieLawson.com

Margie Lawson said...

DEBBIE --

YAY! Thanks for letting me know both your RD examples were from the first half of your first page. AWESOME!

Margie Lawson said...

HEY JANET --

SYMPLOCE: sim-ploh-see

Great to see you here!

All smiles.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

STEF --

Yay! I get to see you again in my May class!

STRONG examples. Well done! Thanks for posting your work on the blog.

See you in May. :-))

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO ANNA M --

You're right, writers have to be careful about overusing any rhetorical device.

When written well, rhetorical devices grab the reader and set the emotional hook. They contribute to making a book unputdownable. ;-)

Thanks for chiming in!

All smiles..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

EDEN -

Reading about these rhetorical devices inspired you. Very cool!

Remember -- these are 3 out of 30 I cover in the Deep Editing course I teach on-line in May. ;-))

All smiles.........Margie
www.MargieLawson.com

Margie Lawson said...

GINGER --

Christa Allan's prologue gets me every time I read it. The SYMPLOCE makes it so heart-wrenching.

Thanks for sharing your reaction. I'll share it with Christa. ;-)

Hugs........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Allison -

Good for you! You write by ear, and know how to write some rhetorical devices. I'm teaching 30 RD's in my Deep Editing class.

So fun!

Great to see you again!

Best............Margie

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO KELLY LEE!

Great! I'll get to work with you in DEEP EDITING in May.

I'm intrigued by your opening! And -- I hope you post it in class too. I bet we can make it even stronger. ;-))

I love your power backload in the last sentence too. Well done!

See you in May!

All smiles..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

SUSAN --

Thank you! I love learning too. ;-)

All smiles........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

ELAINE --

I loved your One decsion . . . passage. Beautiful!

Thanks so much for sharing your talent!

All smiles.......Margie

Margie Lawson said...

REGAN --

So fun to see you here!

SINCE YOU WERE JUST IN ECE CLASS, I TRUST YOU WON'T MIND IF I PLAY IN YOUR WORDS . . . ike I did in the on-ine class.

IT'S GREAT WRITING! I LOVE THE WAY YOU ADVANCED THE NUMBERS - and played it up. BRILIANT!

I'M TAKING YOUR TALENT -- AND TIGHTENING -- AND ADDING SIX WORDS. ;-)

BLOG GUESTS: PLEASE READ BOTH VERSIONS OUTLOUD.

REGAN'S ORIGINAL:
She didn’t remember speaking the numbers even once. Six...Twenty-two...Three.

She didn’t remember repeating them obsessively as either a mantra or a prayer as she lapsed in and out of consciousness. Twenty-two...Three...Six.

She didn’t remember which came first, having apparently recited them thousands of times strung together in a circular echo. Three...Six...Twenty-two.

But worse than all of that, FBI Special Agent Petra O'Shaughnessy didn’t remember why she cared.

MARGIE'S TIGHETENED VERSION:

She didn’t remember speaking the numbers.

Six...Twenty-two...Three.

She didn’t remember repeating the mantra as she lapsed in and out of consciousness.

Twenty-two...Three...Six.

She didn’t remember which NUMBER came first. Having recited them thousands of times, they strung together in a circular echo.

Three...Six...Twenty-two.

But worse than HER OBSESSION WITH THESE NUMBERS, FBI Special Agent Petra O'Shaughnessy didn’t remember why she cared.

REGAN -- ARE YOU SMILING????

I KNOW YOU DIDN'T MIND THIS LITTLE TIGHTENING. :-)

FOR ME, THE TIGHTER VERSION IS SMOOTHER-- and the CADENCE is stronger - SO IT CARRIES MORE DIRECT POWER.

LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

BLOG GUESTS:

I PROMISE - I WON'T DEEP EDIT YOUR EXAMPES ON THE BLOG . . . BUT I WILL IN MY ON-LINE CLASSES. ;))

ALL SMILES...........MARGIE

Julie Robinson said...

Margie,

I'm just getting home and saw from the class post that you were here. Though I lurked, I can see that I'll have to lurk in another class just for all your valuable info. (not in May---I'll be gone for most of that month).

Rhetorical devices like Epistrophe sound so poetic. Here's my shot:

She'd waited for this day. Waited through the long, cold years of a sterile marriage. The once bright mind darkened by his shadow, while the snows of winter slowly streaked her hair. She'd waited for him to love her. And now he was finally dead. No matter. Time had not waited for her.

Thanks for your insight,
Julie

Joanne Sher said...

Oh, this looks WONDERFUL. I'm looking forward to reading this through more thoroughly, but for now, I wanna enter! Would LOVE Deep Editing. WILL take that class some day (just not in May!).

Margie Lawson said...

VALERIE --

Hello! So fabulous to see you on this blog. Thank you for stopping by -- and for your kind words.

I look forward to seeing you on-line again. ;))

Hugs.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO PAM T --

The names for the RD's are clunky, but the application of each RD is smooth.

You're a friend of Regan's? If you're from MORWA too, I'll get to meet you when I present EMPOWERING CHARACTERS' EMOTIONS for MORWA in 2010.

I'll thank Regan for referring you to the blog!

I hope I get to see you in DEEP EDITING in May!

All smiles..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO EVERYONE!

I'VE BEEN SITTING IN MY CAR OUTSIDE A CLOSED LIBRARY, USING THEIR WiFi -- so I could respond to blog comments.

I'LL BE OFF-LINE FOR AN HOUR -- WHILE I DRIVE TO MY MOUNTAIN-TOP HOME. ;-))

I WILL RESPOND TO ALL POSTS TONIGHT. PLEASE DROP BY AGAIN.
THANKS!

SEE YOU BACK ON-LINE SOON!

ALL SMILES..........MARGIE

Linsey Lanier said...

Margie,

Wow, what a post. As insightful and inspiring as ever. Ever since I heard you at M&M and ordered your ECE lecture packet, I constantly make notes to remind myself to "Margie Lawsonize" my writing.

Here's an excerpt from the end of a recent project:

Inches away from her face, he turned the knife.
Her blood hammered through her body, as cold as water from a frozen lake. Her chest constricted with rib-cracking terror. She'd lost. He had her. The room, reeking with wine took on an intoxicating, dreamlike atmosphere. How could this be happening? How could this monster be here after all these years? How could he have resurrected from her ancient, buried memories? How could he be about to kill her?

Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Linsey

Margie Lawson said...

HEY JUDI!

Always wonderful to connect with you! KUDOS to you on all three sales. Woohoo!

Thank you for your kind words. I love teaching writers--and I love hearing about their writing success!

I look forward to seeing you again. ;-))

Hugs.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

BERTA --

The Moonlight & Magnolias Conference was the BEST!

In 2009, I'm presenting full day Master Classes in Richmond, Boise, Newark, Orlando, and Dallas -- and presenting workshops at RWA National, ACFW's National Conference, and the Colorado Gold Conference.

No plans to present in Georgia - and my 2009 presentation calendar is full. I am booking 2010. ;-)

I'm glad you enjoyed reading about ANAPHORA, EPISTROPHE, and SYMPLOCE.

You'll love what you learn in DEEP EDITING in May!

All smiles.......Margie

Margie Lawson said...

SANDY -

Hello! KUDOS to YOU on your contract too!

It will be so fun to see you on-line in DEEP EDITING.

Hmm -- I see your name, and I'm reminded about those great pumpkin cookies. :-)

Hugs........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

ELAINE --

THANKS FOR POSTING THE Petit Fours and Hot Tamales LINK ON YOUR BLOG!

I appreciate you. ;-)

All smiles.........Margie


By the way, Petit Fours and Hot Tamales, I gave y'all a link on my blog today so people know to come over here and check out Margie's info!

http://thewriterscanvas.blogspot.com/

Thanks!
Elaine

Margie Lawson said...

WALT --

WOOHOO! LOVED YOUR One-by-one example of ANAPHORA.

POWERFUL!

I look forward to seeing you in another class. ;-)

All smiles..........Margi

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO PJ!

Regan encouraged you to post your example?

I love the power of Regan!

I loved your example too. It's powerful too.:-))

THANK YOU, and thank you Regan, for sharing your work!

Hugs..........Margie


Regan made me do this -

Time heals a broken heart, renews hope, and grants rebirth. Time changes perspective, opportunity, and desire. Time turns young to old, steals fond memories, and erases sin.

The one thing time never changes is the presence of evil.

(Might have overdone the series of threes, eh?)

Thanks for kickstarting the creative process, Margie!

Margie Lawson said...

BETSY --

Ah -- I bet you'll like the changes you make to your opening scenes.

Glad you're intrigued with using rhetorical devices. :-))

All smiles.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO CAROL B --

I'm so glad to see you again.

STRONG WRITING!

KUDOS TO YOU -- for remembering the names of those Rhetorical Devices.

I loved the cadence and visceral punch of this passage. THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR WORK!

Hugs...........Margie

Since taking your courses, I'm much more aware of the rhetorical devices I use and when to use them for power.

I used Epizeuxis and Anadiplosis in the first two pages.

(In this example, Carly has arrived in Honolulu and finds out about the fourth change in her idyllic vacation plans.)

“I misunderstood. We’re sharing the condo with my Uncle Ethan. But don’t worry. He’s cool.”

Dammit, dammit, dammit! Instead of JoJo’s progressive-thinking parents, she’d be alone with some old geezer for ten days. Carly couldn’t share in her friend’s optimism. She really needed this vacation. A lot more than she’d let on.

She concentrated on taking slow, even breaths. Don’t get upset. Don’t panic. Don’t stop breathing. Pressure tightened her chest and a hot acidic sensation seared her stomach, but she fought it off. This time.
=========
Thanks for being here, Margie, and challenging us to become better writers!

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO MAXINE --

I bet you'll capture that same grab-the-reader rhetorical power --in your writing too. :-))

All smiles.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Rosemarie --

Great passage! Thanks for posting it here.

Thanks also for letting me know you were a lurker-who-learned in my ECE class. :-))

I hope to see you in another class sometime.

All smiles..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Mary M -

If the repetition follows the sequence of a rhetorical device, it will work well!

Thanks for sharing your work -and your smiles!

Best..........Margie

Regan L said...

Hi Margie,

Of course, I'm still smiling! Thank you so much for making it tighter with your deep edits. Though I've completed the 12 step program for excessive adverbiage, sometimes I relapse.

Cheers,
Regan

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO EVERYONE!

It's time to announce our winners!

OUR TWO WINNERS ARE:

SUSAN MAY

and

Diane Della Maggiora!

CONGRATULATIONS!

Susan and Diane --

Please e-mail me and let me know which Lecture Packets you'd like.

Thanks to everyone who posted examples and comments. I enjoyed hearing from you.

A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL THE PETIT FOUR AND HOT TAMALES BLOGGERS FOR INVITING ME TO BUEST BLOG FOR THEM AGAIN. I APPRECIATE YOU ALL!

All smiles..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO NANCY!

Thanks for dropping by the blog. Wish you could drop by in person!

I'm looking forward to LAST VAMPIRE STANDING!

Hugs...........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO TERRI O!

CONGRATULATIONS -- on your upcoming graduation! Awesome!

I appreciate all the compliments about my courses. Thank you!

All smiles..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Patty --

Great to see you again. I look forward to seeing you in another class -- whenever it works out for you. :-)

Thanks for chiming in!

Hugs...........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO REGAN --

I'M SMILING TOO!

Thanks for popping on the blog again!

Hugs.........Margie

Regan L said...
Hi Margie,

Of course, I'm still smiling! Thank you so much for making it tighter with your deep edits. Though I've completed the 12 step program for excessive adverbiage, sometimes I relapse.

Cheers,
Regan

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO DIANE DELLA MAGGIORA --

Congratulations on being a
GOLDEN HEART FINALIST!

I'm so THRILLED for you!

Thanks for sharing that my Deep Editing techniques helped make your writing GH stronger. :-))

I'll be cheering for you in DC!

Hugs..........Margie


Diane Della Maggiora w/a Diana Layne said...
Hi, Margie,

read your post, got sidetracked going back over and reading my work until I realized I had a big long to-do list, and then I totally forgot to post a comment.

So far I've come across an example of anophora but it's too drawn out so I need to work on it.

And last, I wanted to say thanks! For the first time ever after years of entering, I'm a Golden Heart finalist this year! And I know in part it's because of the writing and editing techniques I learned from you have made my work stronger (tho obviously I still need more work! :) )

But I'm really excited, and always trying to improve, thanks!

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Sunny --

Thanks!

If you have any questions about my courses -- ask! Feel free to e-mail me, margie@margielawson.com.

Best.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

TAMI --

Love your enthusiasm!

I appreciate everyone's willingness to share their examples too. Lots of talent on this blog.

Tami -- Looking forward to seeing you on-line again!

All smiles........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO JAN --

Rhetorical devices work well in first and in third person. If written well, they carry power everywhere. :-))

Thanks for chiming in!

All smiles.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO KATHY W --

It's okay to repeat words, if you capture the rhetorical structure. :-))

Thanks for sharing your examples!

Hope to see you on-line again.

Hugs.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO JULIE R!

Too bad you'll be gone in May -- since I only teach my courses once a year. But Lecture Packets are always available. :-)

If you were asking for feedback on the example you posted . . . I'd play with the structure to have it follow the three-times-in-a-row rule for anaphora.

You have a sentence in the middle of the almost-anaphora repetition that interrupts the cadence.

I'd move it, and tweak the cadence.

Hope to see you in another class!

All smiles.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Joanne -

Thanks for chiming in! Hope to see you in a class sometime. ;-))

Best.........Margie

Judy said...

As always, loved the way you make it all make sense. As always, it was so helpful. As always, I thank you!

Diane Della Magggiora w/a Diana Layne said...

Hurray, thanks Margie!! I'm so excited I won a lecture packet! I just sent emails to my friends to tell them to take your classes this year (I don't care if they write or not, they're great classes. LOL) Everyone here, if you have not taken one of her classes, take one. Take them all, they are fantastic!!

Julie Robinson said...

Thanks Margie. I thought it felt off, but couldn't pinpoint the reason. I'll have to see about a lecture packet or, sigh, waiting until next year---but that's a long time away.

Congrats to the winners.
Julie

Margie Lawson said...

Judy --

Thanks! Loved your 'As always . . . ' example of anaphora!

Thank you!

All smiles...........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

DIANA --

You make a great PR person! Thanks for recommending my courses to your friends. ;-))

Big Golden Heart Finalist Hugs!

All smiles..........Margie


Hurray, thanks Margie!! I'm so excited I won a lecture packet! I just sent emails to my friends to tell them to take your classes this year (I don't care if they write or not, they're great classes. LOL) Everyone here, if you have not taken one of her classes, take one. Take them all, they are fantastic!!

Margie Lawson said...

MARGIE DEEP EDITS JULIE'S EXAMPLE!

JULIE R --

See -- it FELT off to you. Excellent! That's fabulous news! You've developed your Cadence-Ear. TRUST your Cadence-Ear. Rewrite until your Cadence-Ear tells you it's right.

If you were in my ECE or Deep Editing class and you'd posted that example, here's the DEEP EDITING FEEDBACK I'd provide.

FIRST -- JULIE'S VERSION:

She'd waited for this day. Waited through the long, cold years of a sterile marriage. The once bright mind darkened by his shadow, while the snows of winter slowly streaked her hair. She'd waited for him to love her. And now he was finally dead. No matter. Time had not waited for her.

SECOND -- MARGIE'S VERSION:

She'd waited for this day. Waited through the long, cold years of a sterile marriage. Waited for him to love her.

Time had not waited.

Now he was dead.

WOOHOO!

PLEASE READ BOTH VERSIONS OUT LOUD.

I may be biased, :-))), but I think my version carries more psychological power.

Julie -- please e-mail me privately -- and let me know what you think. Margie@margielawson.com

I liked that sentence I nixed. I bet you can divide it, and use those beautiful words somewhere else. No loss!

THANKS FOR RESPONDING TO MY POST!

I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU.

ALL SMILES..........MARGIE










JULIE R WROTE:
Thanks Margie. I thought it felt off, but couldn't pinpoint the reason. I'll have to see about a lecture packet or, sigh, waiting until next year---but that's a long time away.

Congrats to the winners.
Julie

Margie Lawson said...

LINSEY --

Yay! Sounds like you're inspired to add more rhetorical devices to your WIP. Of course, you'll add them where you need a power boost. :-)

Thanks for chiming in and sharing your work. I look forward to hearing from you again!

All smiles..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

HELLO EVERYONE!

THANKS AGAIN for sharing your comments, your writing, your enthusiasm, and your kudos! All are appreciated.

FYI: Each month, I post a new DEEP EDITING ANALYSIS featuring an award-winning author on my web site. www.MargieLawson.com

A Deep Editing Analysis is also spotlighted in the monthly
e-newsletter that I share with Mary Buckham. If you'd like to subscribe, please send me an e-mail: Margie@MargieLawson.com.

I'm booking full day Master Classes for 2010. If you would like me to send you information, please contact me: Margie@MargieLawson.com.

THANK YOU!

All smiles..........Margie
www.MargieLawson.com