Dominique Swain and Jeremy Irons in the 1997 'Lolita.' (Source)
In previous article, we talked about some tips on how to develop your own writing style. We talked about the importance of originality, reading and writing a lot more than what you think, editing and rewriting, effects of diction, voice, sentence structure and syntax, and flexibility. Today we will finalize style by few more tips. Let's get started.
Tips Part 2 (Rhythm)
7) Rhythm: English provides an abundance of sentence lengths and patterns. By combining these in different ways, you can create various different rhythmical effects to complement the meaning and purpose of your writing. There are many sentence type in English such as simple declarative (subject + verb + direct object), complex (includes a main or independent clause), compound (contains two main or independent clauses linked by a coordinating conjunction), imperative (commands the listener to do something), interrogative (question), inverted word order (object to subject to predicate), passive voice structure (converting the actual doer of the action into a prepositional phrase). For these, I'm not gonna explain more. You can find them in many websites that explain English grammar properly. Just remember that you can have fun manipulating sentence patterns in order to achieve rhythmical effects that further your meaning. What I prefer to explain a bit is Sentence Variation Patterns.
Sentence Variation Patterns
I bet you know that everything you write has some sort of sentence pattern. Remember, a phrase is a small group of words standing together as a conceptual unit, typically forming a component of a clause. Varying the phrases and clauses in your sentences prevents monotony and can keep your reader interested in your writing.
Similarity: Within a paragraph, a writer can use similar declarative sentences throughout a paragraph in a way that evoke ideas of conformity, for example you can see this method in Chuck Palahniuk works. However, too many similar sentences can create monotony and the effect of negligence.
Alternating: An alternating sentence style shows the power gained by a simple sentence when it is framed on either side by complex sentences. The whole goal of this style is to allow writers to use sentences strategically, emphasizing important points through short sentences and telling stories with longer ones
Progressive: In a progressive pattern, the sentences become longer than normal as they build to a climax , reflecting an intensification of a feeling or idea. So, an element of the comment of the previous sentence becomes the topic of the next. This pattern allows the writer to form 'bridges' between parts of the text, while the message develops in a logical way. You can read more about 4 types of Progressive pattern here.
Symmetrical: In this style, we find close similarities between the lengths and styles of the opening and closing parts of the paragraph. In perfectly symmetrical paragraphs, the second half of the paragraph represents an exact mirror image in sentence styles of the first half. For example, a symmetrical paragraph of seven sentences might use the following pattern: 1. simple 2. complex 3. passive voice 4. interrogative 5. passive voice 6. complex 7. simple. This also is called Perfect Paragraph and you can find more in depth info here.
The term rhetoric refers to language that is used to inform, persuade, or motivate audiences. So, rhetoric uses language to appeal mainly to emotions, but also in some cases to shared values or logic. Examples of rhetoric can often be found in literature, politics, and advertising for specific emphasis and effect-incorporating a variety of figurative language techniques depending upon the desired result.
Rhetoric is the art of communication with your readers using literary devices and compositional techniques. There are many modes of rhetorical writing. The four most common modes of writing are description, expository, narration, and persuasive which I explained in previous article. It's important that you understand that you can use more than one mode for the same written work.
Rhetorical Patterns AKA modes of disco