Friday, 30 September 2016

Secret Writing Techniques
by Deborah Owen, CEO

Storytelling and writing techniques have been around since Adam and Eve bounced little Cain and Abel on their knees, but if you get the feeling there are secret writing techniques that can nail your eyes to the page, you’re right, and successful writers are not quick to talk about them.

There are at least 100 techniques (probably more). Listen to your inner voice and you will know when and where to use them. Regardless of the technique, one rule always applies... don’t overuse any of them. Fine writing is always balanced.

This would be a good time to grab a notebook and pen (or copy and paste this article into a special file) because this series will be an advanced and ongoing study.

Last month we discussed onomatopoeia and today we will talk about asyndeton, which
means disjointed and unconnected. You can listen to the pronunciation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49_3sIYdmK4. Asyndeton is the art of stringing clauses together without benefit of conjunctions, or to phrase it more simply, it is writing a list that is separated by commas and does not use a conjunction. Look at these superb examples:

From Double Indemnity: Why, they've got ten volumes on suicide alone. Suicide by race, by color, by occupation, by sex, by seasons of the year, by time of day. Suicide, how committed: by poisons, by firearms, by drowning, by leaps. Suicide by poison, subdivided by types of poison, such as corrosive, irritant, systemic, gaseous, narcotic, alkaloid, protein, and so forth.
 
Writers aren’t the only ones who use asyndeton effectively.
Orators and statesmen use it, too.

Julius Caesar: I came, I saw, I conquered.

Sir Winston Churchill used it in 1940 in the address known as “We shall fight on the beaches:

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.  

John F. Kennedy: ...that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
 
For hard core impact with a dramatic effect, try asyndeton in this week's writing.


Write to our CEO at DeborahOwen@CWInst.com.

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