Write Now: Literary Devices May Help With Writing

Putting your thoughts on paper is a difficult task.

In other words, writing is hard.

Many people would agree with me.

When people claim that writing is hard, they are not really talking about the physical aspect. One would either press keys on a keyboard to form words, sentences and paragraphs or one would use a pen, pencil or another writing utensil to write words on a sheet of paper.

When people claim writing is hard, they may mean that putting their thoughts and ideas on paper, in an organized manner, is difficult.

Even experienced writers have difficulty getting their words exactly how they want them. Writers want their works to be perfect.

Even though people claim they are not writers or they do not like to write, they know how to spot good writing and bad writing.

And, from the page, it seems, words glare back at them.

And, I think the reason is because writing is a formal communication tool.

And, because it’s a life skill, good writing and bad writing is noticed.

When you see good writing, the words, no pun intended, talk to you, and they are said to flow on the page. When you see bad writing, it’s apt to be clunky, and calls to you — calls to you for help. When you read bad writing, you instantly know it, and may even say, “Hey, what is this person trying to say?”

You may say that because the message the writer is trying to convey is lost in the very words he is trying to use to communicate his thoughts.

Besides practicing the writing craft, there are some other ways to help one with his writing. They are taught in school, but sometimes young writers take them for granted. They are called simply enough, literary devices or lit terms maybe as a nickname. They are there for writers to use. When I used to teach English Language Arts, I had two posters with lit terms printed on them. To say they are a huge help is an understatement. If you are a writer, and until you get familiar with your list, you should keep your list near you when you are writing.

Lit terms are used when studying literature as well.

The list is long, so take care of it. If you are in an ELA class, you may want to laminate the list — even if the list takes up two sheets of double-sided 81/2 by 11 inch paper.

Lit terms a reference guide that you be glad to have at your fingertips. I say this because when an essay is assigned in an ELA class, lit terms are usually used to support one’s argument when writing. It is easier to say that poet’s use of caesura gave the poem its different tempo, than to say the words stopped at weird places in the poem making it difficult to understand when a line was finished. Maybe that was the poet’s intention.

I have used two literary devices here to support my writing. I used anaphora or a deliberate repetition of the beginning of a sentence. I began three sentences with the word “and.” With the repetition of the word “and,” I emphasized my point.

I also used caesura. According to literarydevices.net, “one such pause is known as ‘caesura,’ which is a rhythmical pause in a poetic line or a sentence. It often occurs in the middle of a line, or sometimes at the beginning and the end. At times, it occurs with punctuation; at other times it does not. Poets indicate such a pause with a parallel symbol thus: ||. Caesura can be medial (occurring in the middle of line), initial (occurring at the beginning of poetic line), or terminal (occurring at the end of a poetic line).”

Poets, as I referenced, may use caesura to emphasize a line. If you write enough poetry or are lucky enough to take a poetry class, the poet or teacher of the course may ask you to honor line break or caesura.

Poets like prose writers also use anaphora. In my opinion, anaphora is just as powerful in prose as it is in poetry.

So when thinking about writing, you may want to visit the list of lit terms to maybe help you organize your thoughts during your brainstorming session and when you begin your rough draft.

It’s that easy.

It’s that hard.


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