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Posts tagged ‘jack remick’

Rhetorical devices: Your secret writing weapon

When a book instantly grabs me and draws me in, I like to go back later and analyze why. Sometimes, it’s the subject matter. Sometimes, it’s the narrator’s voice. Sometimes, it’s a simile or metaphor that hooks me. Always, it’s the strong writing. Strong writing means that the arrangement of words on the page “works.” Strong writing is an art that we can learn.

Many award-winning, best-selling authors have a secret weapon that helps them produce strong writing. That secret success weapon is the use of rhetorical devices.

Award-winning poet and author Jack Remick discusses his use of rhetorical devices in his interview with Joel Chafetz. He says that the devices all conspire to create a certain cadence in his work. He goes on to say:

…”it’s not enough to put the words down, that’s information. You have to make the words dance and rhetoric can make your words dance. Most people dismiss rhetoric but rhetoric cannot be dismissed. Rhetoric can give you rhythm, rhetoric can give you cadence, rhetoric can give your writing new life. So the writing in Blood is thick with rhetorical devices. And that’s what you’re picking up—the poetry of violence couched in rhetorical devices driving images at full speed so the story spins out ahead of you, drawing you along with each one.”

I’ve used rhetorical devices in my poetry for years–alliteration, assonance, similes, metaphors, etc. These are some of the more common devices with their definitions below: Read more

Two reasons to delete adverbs from your writing

Readers are smart and smart people don’t need to be told how to feel when they read your story.

The best way to get your readers to feel is, of course, to evoke those emotions within them. As a writer, you do that by using strong nouns and verbs and creating meaningful images and scenes. You don’t do that by using adverbs.

According to author and poet Jack Remick, relying on adverbs to tell our readers how to feel is a lazy way to get to emotion.

In his insightful interview with Joel Chafetz, Remick gives an example of a poorly used adverb—“Get out of here, she said sternly,”—and says it can easily be replaced with something stronger such as, “Get your butt out of here,” she growled.

Another reason Remick says he hates adverbs is because they hide images. Read more

Write a scene in 30 minutes

In a recent interview by Joel Chafetz, author Jack Remick, talked about how learning Natalie Goldberg’s timed writing technique totally changed his writing.

Remick who is a poet and author of the novel Blood, among other works, said he learned to use timed writing to craft his scenes. He breaks it down as follows for a 30-minute timed writing session:

  • 5 minutes on setting, place, time, season, temperature
  • 5 minutes on character description and problem
  • 5 minutes on action and dialogue
  • 5 minutes on Intruder
  • 5 minutes on Climax and Resolution
  • 5 minutes on Hook to the next scene down the line Read more

Start a story now before your mouth talks it away

“Start a story now before your mouth talks it away.”

I love this line from the blog of authors and writing mentors Robert Ray and Jack Remick. Sometimes, authors do talk too much about their works-in-progress. We talk about not having enough time to write. We talk about plot or character problems we’re having. We talk, talk, and talk until we’ve worn ourselves and our listeners out.

Not all talk is good therapy. Sometimes, silence really is best. We can talk away the energy of a project and talking can be a way of avoiding what we should really be doing–writing. When I start to fall into this trap, I think of the quote above. Read more

Two steps to stronger verbs

Strong verbs equal strong writing.  Normally, the first words we get down on paper tend to be thoughts, images, and ideas off the top of our head.  Revision is the place where we go deeper and discover more original ideas, images, and metaphors, along with stronger verbs and nouns.

The good news is in two easy steps you can begin to train your brain to produce stronger verbs even in first drafts.

Step One:  First, you have to know where you’re at.

Do a short timed write or use a piece of first draft writing. One page is good. You don’t want polished or revised work for this exercise—only first draft material!  Next, underline or highlight each verb on the page. Read more