How to Write Powerful Prose: An essay by the author of ‘Style’

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The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it. A writer without a sense of justice and of injustice would be better off editing the yearbook of a school for exceptional children than writing novels.

A great enough writer seems to be born with knowledge. But he really is not; he has only been born with the ability to learn in a quicker ratio to the passage of time than other men and without conscious application, and with an intelligence to accept or reject what is already presented as knowledge. I believe that basically you write for two people; yourself to try to make it absolutely perfect; or if not that then wonderful.

Then you write for who you love whether she can read or write or not and whether she is alive or dead. And it makes me happy when I do it well. I have to write to be happy whether I get paid for it or not.

But it is a hell of a disease to be born with. I like to do it. Which is even worse. That makes it from a disease into a vice. Then I want to do it better than anybody has ever done it which makes it into an obsession.


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An obsession is terrible. Hope you haven't gotten any.

Prose Writing 101

That's the only one I've got left. So that when you have read something by me you actually experience the thing. Rhythm is the juxtaposition of stressed and unstressed beats in a poem, and is often used to give the reader a lens through which to move through the work. See meter and foot. Setting - the place or location of the action.

The setting provides the historical and cultural context for characters.

Voice in Writing: Developing a Unique Writing Voice

It often can symbolize the emotional state of characters. Speaker - the person delivering the poem. Remember, a poem does not have to have a speaker, and the speaker and the poet are not necessarily one in the same. Look for: Repeated elements in action, gesture, dialogue, description, as well as shifts in direction, focus, time, place, etc. Structure poetry - The pattern of organization of a poem.

Essay – On “Restrained, Elegant Prose” – Susan Lanigan

For example, a Shakespearean sonnet is a line poem written in iambic pentameter. Because the sonnet is strictly constrained, it is considered a closed or fixed form. Symbolism - when an object is meant to be representative of something or an idea greater than the object itself. Tone - the implied attitude towards the subject of the poem. Is it hopeful, pessimistic, dreary, worried? A poet conveys tone by combining all of the elements listed above to create a precise impression on the reader. We encourage the educational use of the OWL.

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The Terms of Use explains the specific permissions granted. Literary Analysis: Using Elements of Literature Students are asked to write literary analysis essays because this type of assignment encourages you to think about how and why a poem, short story, novel, or play was written. Lucas wrote the best book on prose composition, for the not-so-simple reason that, in the modern era, he was the smartest, most cultivated man to turn his energies to the task". Lucas returned to the subject in a word essay, 'On the Fascination of Style', published in the March number of Holiday magazine.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ratcliff's Prose of Our Time London Ariadne Messene Redeemed The Bear Dances Land's End Style Jones wife D. Lucas brother. Categories : Style guides Books of literary criticism books Cassell publisher books. Namespaces Article Talk.

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