Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rhetorical device of Position

Well, here I go again. Let's talk about position, or where you put things in your sentence, or paragraph, or story. I tell my students that it's important to have a good beginning and a good end because that's generally what most people remember. However, if you lose someone in the middle of your story...

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few". Sir, Winston Churchill.

He catches you with the Never and then finishes you off with the few.

Sometimes by putting what you're writing about last you can create a sensation of suspense. An example: "After the mountainous waves died down, the coast guard launched their life boats." We have to wait until those waves calm down to find out what is going to happen.

You can also mess with minds by putting things out of place. We are creatures of order, but when you put things out of order you can draw attention. Example: "The city, full of noise, strident and discordant, grated on John's nerves." (the two adjectives are out of place and makes you eye stop).

It's something you might use when you want to get attention, but to use it a lot would not be a good idea.

Hope this helps.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Showing versus Telling

"What's the difference between showing and telling a story?"

Just finished "Gulliver's Travels."  I know it was written in a different time for different readers, but I had to force myself to read on.  In comparison to Patrick O'Brian's "Fortune of War," I couldn't put it down.

Difference?  I was told the tale in "Gulliver's Travels," in "Fortune of War,"  I was invited into the narrative.

How do you do that?  The way I've managed it (everyone will have a different method) is to get personally involved with my characters.  Tell it as it is happening and use those moments of narrative to introduce or move the plot from one point to another.

The reason I wrote "Colin and The Rise of The House of Horwood," was because I had such a great time with the Harry Potter series I wanted the feeling to continue.  At every moment in the story I had to ask myself if I was having fun.  There's no sense in writing if you're not enjoying yourself.  I suppose there's writing for therapy, but for that I go for a run.