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Writing Techniques

Writing is an important form of communication. Good writers use different writing techniques to fit their purpose for writing. To be a good writer, you must master each of the following writing techniques.
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Description Through description, a writer helps the reader use the senses of feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling, and tasting to experience what the writer experiences. Description helps the reader more clearly understand the people, places, and things about which the writer is writing. It is the most common form of writing. You will find descriptive writing in newspapers, magazines, books, and most other forms of written communication. Exposition Through exposition, a writer informs, explains, and clarifies his/her ideas and thoughts. Exposition goes beyond description to help the reader understand with greater clarity and depth the ideas and thoughts of the writer. Expository writing, like descriptive writing, is commonly found in newspapers, magazines, books, and most other forms of written communication. Narration Through narration, a writer tells a story. A story has characters, a setting, a time, a problem, attempts at solving the problem, and a solution to the problem. Bedtime stories are examples of short stories while novels are examples of long stories. The scripts written for movies and plays are further examples of narrative writing. Persuasion Through persuasion, a writer tries to change a reader's point of view on a topic, subject, or position. The writer presents facts and opinions to get the reader to understand why something is right, wrong, or in between. Editorials, letters to the editor in newspapers and magazines, and the text for a political speech are examples of persuasive writing. Comparison and Contrast Through comparison and contrast, a

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writer points out the similarities and differences about a topic. Comparison is used to show what is alike or in common. Contrast is used to show what is not alike or not in common. Describing living conditions in 1900 and living conditions today would allow for much comparison and contrast. By using the writing technique that fits your purpose, you will be able to communicate

Goal: Descriptive writing vividly portrays a person, place, or thing


in such a way that the reader can visualize the topic and enter into the writers experience.

Characteristi The general characteristics of descriptive writing cs: include:

elaborate use of sensory language rich, vivid, and lively detail figurative language such as simile, hyperbole, metaphor, symbolism and personification showing, rather than telling through the use of active verbs and precise modifiers included in other genre, such as in a descriptive introduction of a character in a narrative.

Uses: Descriptive writing appears almost everywhere and is often

Exercises: Observe, and then describe an event.

Think of a person or object that stands out in your memory. Write a description of that subject. Find an example of descriptive writing; explain the elements that make this a good example.

Goal: Expository writing seeks to inform, explain, clarify, define or


instruct.

Characteristi The general characteristics of expository writing cs: include:


focus on main topic logical supporting facts details, explanations, and examples strong organization clarity unity and coherence logical order smooth transitions

Uses: Expository writing appears in and is not limited to letters,

newsletters, definitions, instructions, guidebooks, catalogues, newspaper articles, magazine articles, manuals, pamphlets, reports and research papers. friend you want to take with you. Explain why this friend would be the best person to go with you. Describe the cause and effects of pollution in the environment. Narrow your topic to one form of pollution, such as something that causes air, water or land pollution. Explain the process of baking a birthday cake. Find an example of expository writing; explain the elements that make this a good example.

Exercises: Write a story about a trip you are going to take and what

Goal: Narrative writing tells a story or part of a story. Characteristi The general characteristics of narrative writing cs: include:
plot structure 0 introduction 1 rising action 2 climax 3 falling action 4 resolution conflict characterization setting theme point of view sequencing transitions

Uses: Narrative writing appears in and is not limited to novels,


short stories, biographies, autobiographies, historical accounts, essays, poems, and plays.

Exercises: Write a story about the best celebration you have ever had;
tell why this is your favorite. Think of a time when you were nervous. It might be your first plane ride or the first time you slept over night with a friend. Tell what happened and how you reacted. Write a fictional story about being an eyewitness at a historical event. Find an example of a narrative; explain the elements that make this a good example.

Goal: Persuasive writing intends to convince the reader of a stated


opinion or belief.

Characteristi The general characteristics of persuasive writing cs: include:


stated position or belief factual supports persuasive techniques logical argument call to action

Uses: Persuasive writing appears in and is not limited to speeches,


letters to the editor, editorials, advertisements, award nominations, pamphlets, petitions, scholarly writing, and opinion pieces.

Exercises: Write a letter to your congressman telling him why you think
daylight savings time should or should not be changed. Write a speech to be delivered to the school board to convince them to require or not require school uniforms. Find an example of persuasive writing; explain the elements that make this a good example.

Goal: Poetry is an art form that uses evocative language and form
to communicate an idea or an experience. Because it is highly individual, the structure and elements are varied and unlimited in scope.

Characteristi The general characteristics of poetry may include: cs: figurative language
rhyme and euphony meter poetic devices free verse blank verse

Uses: Poetry appears almost everywhere, and examples include


haiku, couplet, tercet, quatrain, cinquain, limerick, ballad, lyrics, sonnet, etc.

Exercises: Challenge students to make the ordinary extraordinary.

Wrap everyday objects in tissue paper, and then ask each student to pick an item. After students have unwrapped their items, allow them to trade, if they like. Charge them with writing a poem about what they have. During a class walk, ask each student to pick up one item. After students return to the classroom, have them write about what they found. Ask students to write about the immediate. If it is storming, have them write about rain, etc.. Invite students to write about something they miss or crave. For example, in winter have them write about summer.

Goal: The goal of technical writing is to clearly communicate a

select piece of information to a targeted reader or group of readers for a particular purpose in such a way that the subject can readily be understood. It is expository writing that requires a response from the reader.

Characteristi The general characteristics of technical writing may cs: include:


objective point of view clear, concise language factual information uncomplicated structure logical order identified audience

Uses: Technical writing appears in reports such as lab, accidents or


progress reports, directions to a destination, manuals, evaluation forms and questionnaires, business letters, resumes, presentations, descriptions of the design and features for new products, and instructions that help the reader visualize what they are doing and what they are working with.

Exercises: Have the students create a presentation of a famous

American using Power Point; then have a day where they share their research with the class At the board, in front of your class, solve a grade-level appropriate math problem, incorrectly! Ask students to write, in complete sentences or a paragraph, to explain what you did wrong in solving the problem. Challenge the students to become inventors! Have them create a product then have them describe how their product works to prospective buyers!

Descriptive Writing Techniques


Describe from memory
Take the topic or object that you are going to write about and picture it in your mind. Take yourself to where that object is located. It maybe a room in your home, a favorite animal, or maybe it is fresh, homemade cookies. Imagine that you are close enough to touch the object. Can you feel it? Look at it closely. What does it look like? What do you feel as you are imagining the object you are going to describe? Use these thoughts to generate free writing. Write every detail about the object that you can remember.

Sketch
Draw a picture of your object. Visualize it in your mind and sketch from memory, or place yourself comfortably near the object. Allow yourself to fully explore the object and then draw what you experience. Don't worry about not being an artist. This sketch is just for you to help you fully explore the details of the object. Sketching the object also gives you a creative outlet for when you are struggling with putting pen to paper.

Objective and subjective data chart


For me the best way to really get some ink flowing in all

directions for a descriptive piece is to break apart the subjective and objective material. A good way to do this is to take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the top of one side of the line write the word objective and on the top of the other side of the line write the word subjective. Now, keeping your topic in mind write everything you can think of that is objective about the object. If you think of something subjective don't worry, just write it in the other column. Do this until you have exhausted yourself or the store runs out of paper. Don't worry about having complete sentences; just get ideas on paper. With this, you have a good start to writing a descriptive piece. All the details are right in front of you. You may also discover which way you would like to lean toward in regards to whether or not you want your piece of writing to be more subjective, more objective or balanced.

Create a list of desired outcomes for your descriptive piece


The big advantage to this is direction. If you have no idea where you are going with your piece of writing about your Kermit the Frog underwear, then you may want to do some brainstorming on what you want to accomplish. Do you want the reader to be moved by the piece because the object is special to you? Do you want the reader to rush out of their house and drive to yours because you are trying to sell your car? Think about what you for an outcome both for you and the reader. Write them down on a piece of paper (or type them).

Different degrees of objective & subjective balance with different paragraphs


When you have a good feel for your topic, write a couple of paragraphs with different objective and subjective balance. Write one paragraph that is completely objective. For example, something you would find in the classifieds section of your

newspaper. Then write a short paragraph that is heavily subjective. Do a couple different paragraphs to get a feel for what would work best for your object with regards to your intended reader and your relationship to the object. For instance, if you are writing about your favorite chair, you may find it makes more sense, and is more fun to write about it with the balance leaning toward subjective writing.

Ten Timeless Persuasive Writing Techniques


by Brian Clark

Want to convince your readers to do something or agree with your point of view? OK, that was a silly question. Of course you do. Persuasion is generally an exercise in creating a win-win situation. You present a case that others find beneficial to agree with. You make them an offer they cant refuse, but not in the manipulative Godfather sense. Its simply a good deal or a position that makes sense to that particular person. But there are techniques that can make your job easier and your case more compelling. While this list is in no way comprehensive, these 10 strategies are used quite a bit because they work.

Repetition
Talk to anyone well versed in learning psychology, and theyll tell you repetition is crucial. Its also critical in persuasive writing, since a person cant agree with you if they dont truly get what youre saying. Of course, theres good repetition and bad. To stay on the good side, make your point in several different ways, such as directly, using an example, in a story, via a quote from a famous person,

and once more in your summary.

Reasons Why
Remember the power of the word because. Psychological studies have shown that people are more likely to comply with a request if you simply give them a reason why even if that reason makes no sense. The strategy itself does make sense if you think about it. We dont like to be told things or asked to take action without a reasonable explanation. When you need people to be receptive to your line of thinking, always give reasons why.

Consistency
Its been called the hobgoblin of little minds, but consistency in our thoughts and actions is a valued social trait. We dont want to appear inconsistent, since, whether fair or not, that characteristic is associated with instability and flightiness, while consistency is associated with integrity and rational behavior. Use this in your writing by getting the reader to agree with something up front that most people would have a hard time disagreeing with. Then rigorously make your case, with plenty of supporting evidence, all while relating your ultimate point back to the opening scenario thats already been accepted.

Social Proof
Looking for guidance from others as to what to do and what to accept is one of the most powerful psychological forces in our lives. It can determine whether we deliver aid to a person in

need, and it can determine whether we muster the courage to kill ourselves. Obvious examples of social proof can be found in testimonials and outside referrals, and its the driving force behind social media. But you can also casually integrate elements of social proof in your writing, ranging from skillful alignment with outside authorities to blatant name dropping.

Comparisons
Metaphors, similes and analogies are the persuasive writers best friends. When you can relate your scenario to something that the reader already accepts as true, youre well on your way to convincing someone to see things your way. But comparisons work in other ways too. Sometimes you can be more persuasive by comparing apples to oranges (to use a tired but effective metaphor). Dont compare the price of your home study course to the price of a similar coursecompare it to the price of a live seminar or your hourly consulting rate.

Agitate and Solve


This is a persuasion theme that works as an overall approach to making your case. First, you identify the problem and qualify your audience. Then you agitate the readers pain before offering your solution as the answer that will make it all better. The agitation phase is not about being sadistic; its about empathy. You want the reader to know unequivocally that you understand his problem because youve dealt with it and/or are experienced at eliminating it. The credibility of your solution goes

way up if you demonstrate that you truly feel the prospects pain.

Prognosticate
Another persuasion theme involves providing your readers with a glimpse into the future. If you can convincingly present an extrapolation of current events into likely future outcomes, you may as well have a license to print money. This entire strategy is built on credibility. If you have no idea what youre talking about, youll end up looking foolish. But if you can back up your claims with your credentials or your obvious grasp of the subject matter, this is an extremely persuasive technique.

Go Tribal
Despite our attempts to be sophisticated, evolved beings, we humans are exclusionary by nature. Give someone a chance to be a part of a group that they want to be inwhether that be wealthy, or hip, or green, or even contrarianand theyll hop on board whatever train youre driving. This is the technique used in the greatest sales letter ever written. Find out what group people want to be in, and offer them an invitation to join while seemingly excluding others.

Address Objections
If you present your case and someone is left thinking yeah, but, well, youve lost. This is why direct marketers use long copyits not that they want you to read it all, its that they want you to read enough until you buy.

Addressing all the potential objections of at least the majority of your readers can be tough, but if you really know your subject the arguments against you should be fairly obvious. If you think there are no reasonable objections to your position, youre in for a shock if you have comments enabled.

Storytelling
Storytelling is really a catch-all techniqueyou can and should use it in combination with any and all of the previous nine strategies. But the reason why storytelling works so well lies at the heart of what persuasion really is. Stories allow people to persuade themselves, and thats what its really all about. You might say that we never convince anyone of anythingwe simply help others independently decide that were right. Do everything you can to tell better stories, and youll find that you are a terribly persuasive person. As I mentioned, this is in no way a complete list. What other persuasive writing strategies work for you?

Alliteration, Sibilance, Assonance, Consonance


Using Figurative Language in Fiction Writing and Poetry

Feb 7, 2010

Suzanne Pitner Alliteration, sibilance, consonance, and assonance are all similar literary devices based on the way words sound. Perfect for poetry, they are also effective in fiction.

Every writer has a tool box of tricks, tips, and fixes to make prose or poetry read well and engage the audience. To become a better writer, learning about figurative language can add a whole new level to writing fiction, nonfiction, and poems. There are so many literary devices to choose from, that one good way to learn them is by mastering groups of concepts that are similar in their uses. The four poetic devices, alliteration, sibilance, assonance, and consonance, are all based on consonant and vowel sounds.

Alliteration and Sibilance


Alliteration is the repetition of sounds in words, usually the first letter or two letters. Alliteration sounds pleasing when read aloud, hence the reason it's found often in poetry. It's also used quite heavily in children's books, especially those for early readers learning to identify the sounds of letters. Ray rode a rocket is an alliterative phrase.

Sibilance is a special form of alliteration using the softer consonants that create hissing sounds, or sibilant sounds. These consonants and digraphs include s, sh, th, ch, z, f, x, and soft c. Sing a Song of Sixpence is a song title that is a good example of sibilance.

Alliteration Examples
Alliteration is found in poetry, songs, novels, and advertising copy. It gives a punchy rhythm to phrases that make them easy to remember. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. Pitter patter. (This uses alliteration and consonance.) Tick tock. Don't do drugs. Don't drink and drive. Wendy was wild and wonderful.

Assonance and Consonance


Assonance is similar to alliteration in that it consists of repeating sounds. However, whereas alliteration is the repeating sound of at the beginning of words, assonance is the repeating sound of vowels, usually within the words. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, by Bernard Waber uses rhyming and assonance in poem throughout the story. The title is an example of assonance using the long i vowel sound. Since it is only the repetition of the vowel sound, assonance doesn't have to rhyme.

Consonance is also repetition of sounds, this time of consonants in the middle of a word. Barbara Parks uses consonance with the k sound in the title of her book, Junie B. Jones and the Yucky, Blucky Fruitcake. The title character's name, Junie B. Jones, is an example of alliteration.

Assonance Examples
22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. Read 'em and weep. Light my fire. Bake me a cake. No, Joe, don't go. Sit still until winter sets in. Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom. (This example uses consonance with ck, assonance with oo and i, sibilance with ch, and alliteration with b.)

How to Use Figurative Language in Fiction Writing


Figurative language isn't just for poets. It can be used to increase

tension and readability in any writing, whether it's a novel, a short story, advertising campaign, or creative nonfiction. In fiction writing, using these literary devices can make a character stand out with a personal slogan. An emergency doctor in CJ Lyons' Warning Signs says, Treat 'em and street 'em. It can make a description memorable, such as a dark and deadly dungeon. It can create a mood. The owl wooed the moon with it's lonely hooting. This assonant phrase gives a somber mood to a setting.

Quick tips to remember these four poetic devices:


Alliteration is repeating sounds at the beginnings of words. Sibilance is alliteration with a soft consonant that creates a hissing (sibilant) sound, such as s, sh, z, th, f, and soft c. Consonance is the repetition of the same consonant sound in the middle of a word. Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds. One way to improve fiction writing is to do the following exercise. Open one scene in a work in progress. Try to find at least two places to use a literary device from this article, or some of the ones from other articles, such as metaphor and simile, or in humorous writing, hyperbole. Once these literary devices are mastered, they will begin to come naturally when doing any type of writing.

Read more at Suite101: Alliteration, Sibilance, Assonance, Consonance: Using Figurative Language in Fiction Writing and Poetry http://research-writingtechniques.suite101.com/article.cfm/alliteration-sibilanceassonance-consonance#ixzz0oI0gCQCX

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