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Jan's Master Class--REPETITION

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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Postby swfdoc1 » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:40 am

Well, I can’t re-create everything I wrote last time for the post that went into the black hole. I’m getting ready for a 5-day road trip. I will just REPEAT what I said last time about my use of repetition in non-fiction, which use also has some application in fiction.

I use repetition to avoid the problem of broad reference relative pronouns. For example, I might write: “After long, contentious, and ultimately divisive debate, the board reached its decision. This caused the board to change its policy.” Instead, I could replace “This” with a phrase that repeats (in word, in concept, or in summary) the word or phrase I intended "This" to refer to, e.g., “This contentiousness . . . ”, “This divisiveness . . . ”, “This lengthy process . . .”, “This experience . . . .”

Also I use a technique that is called (at least in the text I use) dovetailing. It involves linking the end of one sentence with the beginning of the next, sometimes sequentially within a paragraph, sometimes repeatedly within a paragraph or section. It is especially useful when helping the reader follow logical or narrative steps is important. For example: “The medical examiner determined that the victim’s wound was caused by a small caliber handgun. A small caliber handgun was found in the bushes outside the victim’s house by the police. The police then turned the gun over to the ballistics lab.” This technique will often involve the use of the passive voice as it did here in the second sentence. However, that is OK since the whole point is to emphasize the gun at the beginning of the second sentence. But, the dovetail phrase does not have to be in exactly the last position of one sentence or exactly the first position of the next sentence; and passive voice can thus sometime be avoided.

One new thought that occurs to me is that repetition occurs in the logical syllogism, as in its famous illustration:

Major premise: All humans are mortal.
Minor premise: Socrates is a human.
Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.

When this is turned into regular text, even if buried in the middle of a larger thought, the repetition would remain. (And for the sake of an easy example, please ignore the fact that my major premise is flawed): “Everybody knows that all dogs hate cats. My Rover is a typical dog. He hates cats. Just the other day, he chased one for five blocks.” (Sorry Jan!)

Here’s my link—same as last time: Alone in the Woods on Christmas Day: A Prose Poem. It’s got tons of repetition.

http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-level1-previous.php?id=26928
Steve
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“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Postby hwnj » Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:34 am

The last time I posted in your class on repetition, the boards had a melt-down. I certainly hope there is no repetition of that cataclysm.

1. I really, really hope this is the last class on repetition. :)

2. Perhaps we knew she would be his bride when we gave them the photo mugs for Christmas of 2007. He introduced his bride-to-be on New Year's Day. I can't wait to welcome her as his bride and my daughter-in-law on May 30th.

3. I'm really going to be a mother-in-law. A mother-in-law, I pray, utterly unlike my own.

4. I love cats! I love their silky fur and swishing tails. I love their rumbly purs and tickly whiskers. I love the warmth and peacefulness as one tucks her nose under her tail for a nap on my lap. I absolutely love cats!

5. As long as I am expecting them, I don't mind snakes--insect-eating snakes, constricting snakes, just not poisonous snakes.

6. If there is anything good about the FW black hole, it is that the black hole has sucked up any stupid things I have written, the black hole has erased all my typos, and the black hole has unpublished things I might have wished I'd saved to use for the "first" time somewhere else. :-) :-(

7. I began each stanza with the phrase "It sure looked good" in order to emphasize the temptation experienced by people throughout Scripture, some who handled it well, and many who did not.

It Sure Looked Good

8. There is a lot of repetition and parallel structure in the sermon on the mount. "Blessed are the...for they..." "you have heard that it was said by men of old...but I say unto you..." Even God wants us to use repetition purposefully, instructing us not to use vain repetition in our prayers.

I don't seem to utilize repetition much in my prose, but do from time to time in poetry. As was discussed in the class on quatrains, the pantoum form is completely structured around repetition.
Holly

"There are two ways of spreading light -- to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it." Edith Wharton

'It is better to be liked for the true you, than to be loved for who people think you are.'

"In order to realize the worth of the anchor, one needs to feel the stress of the storm." Daily Encouragement Net (Stephen & Brooksyne Weber)

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Postby glorybee » Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:03 pm

Happy trails, Steve!

Despite your slam on cats-- :P --I really like your example of using a logical syllogism (I think that's the word) to create interesting repetition in your writing.

And of course, every time I read your poetic prose entry, I'm touched by it. Lovely, lovely.
Jan Ackerson

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Postby glorybee » Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:08 pm

Holly, your examples cracked me up, as usual. And congratulations on your soon-to-be mother-in-law status.

And thanks so much for the link to the poem. I love the way the phrase "It Sure Looked Good" switches gears in the last few stanzas--masterful!
Jan Ackerson

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Postby Allison » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:36 pm

One of the most well known examples of repetition in the Bible is also one of my favorites. Psalm 136 repeats the phrase "His love endures forever" at the end of each verse.


This wasn't a challenge entry, but Except God uses repetition of a sentence throughout the whole piece. I should probably re-write it in more of a narrative form, but at the same time, I do like the repetition in this piece.
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Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV)

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Postby glorybee » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:42 pm

Thanks for the reminder of a truly beautiful Psalm, Allison!

Your "Except God" essay is very touching, and the repetition is extremely effective. I wonder how it would be if each "Except God" ended a paragraph? I was quite moved by your story--it actually hits home a bit with me. No one knows the "whys" of my daughter's disability, either...

...Except God.
Jan Ackerson

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Postby raineysangel » Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:12 pm

Ms. Jan, I’ve been wanting to come back to this all week. I’m late getting in , but here goes:

1. You might choose to repeat one word, with nothing between them:

“My, my, my. Don’t you look lovely today.”
(I don’t know that I’ve ever, ever used this type of repetition before now.)


2. Or you may repeat a key word several times within one paragraph:

The jukebox played his favorite song. He swayed, not caring if others watched, to the song’s rhythm. This had been her song too. If only she were here to share the moment.

3. Think about repeating the last word or two of one sentence as the beginning of the next:

I actually used this in a poem before. Here are a few lines. . .

Some believe she was spoiled to rebellion.
None knew of her pain deep inside.
Secrets slicing her voice, her opinion
Bottled up with no place to hide.

“Hide from whom?” , you may ask with good reason.
It seems she has hid them so well.
But her Father above knows a season
Will come and be her time to tell.

Tell of how He brought her out of sorrow.
How He washed away all her shame.
Life is hard (just ask her) but tomorrow
Will come. He will call her by name.


4. It can be very effective to repeat a word or phrase at the beginning of a series of sentences or clauses:

I like the Beatitudes. (Blessed are. . .)

5. Similarly, consider repeating a word or phrase at the end of a series of clauses:

For some reason, these song lyrics came to mind from an old gospel hymn. Don’t know if it fits this category?

I am blessed,
I am blessed,
Everyday that I live I am blessed.
When I wake up in the morning,
Or I lay my head to rest,
I am blessed,
I am blessed!


8. Closely related to repetition is parallelism, or parallel structure. Here, the writer uses very similar words or sentence structures for their effect on the reader. This is very common in the Psalms, so I’ll just give one example, and give you the privilege of seeking out some more:

I like Psalms 32:1 “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

It is such a shame that the previous classes have gone to cyber-heaven, Ms. Jan. I appreciate the time you take for this 'class'. You are a treasure.
Teresa
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"But kids like us grow up and need our own relationship with God, forged in the heart through time and experience, not draped around us by the church we attend. We need to know God for ourselves, not secondhand." Frank Peretti from his introduction in The Visitation.

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Postby glorybee » Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:19 pm

Excellent examples, Teresa. That poem is quite nice! Thanks so much for your contributions to this class.

Don't worry about the old classes. I've got all but three of them, and within a few days I'll have them ready to send out to anyone who wants them.
Jan Ackerson

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Postby Chely » Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:45 am

Sorry for the recent truancy, Jan, and I am so sorry your classes have been zapped. :(

For Christmas, I recieved The Word of Promise: New Testament Audio Bible. http://www.thewordofpromise.com/ It's better than just an audio Bible, it is dramatic audio theater, and really, really well done. I am realizing how much differently I perceive the Bible through hearing it, versus reading it. I have become much more aware of the use of repetition in all of the NT, but I will point out the overwhelming use of it in Revelation. At the end of the first chapter:

20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw[j] are the seven churches.

And then through the 2nd and 3rd chapters, the letters to the seven churches, near (or at) the end of each letter it states:

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

I find myself thinking, "Wow, there is something very important here, and I need to pay attention to THAT word/phrase."
~~

Without pouring over all my challenge entries, I will note the one instance that I used repetition very deliberately. In The Stalker's Curse http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article- ... p?id=22821
I repeated the line "I curse this curse, I curse the rain." at the end of almost half the paragraphs. Initial, I also had that as my last line, but it felt not quite right. Right before I submitted it, I changed it in the entry box to, "I'll break this curse, I'll love the rain."

I truly believe tweaking that last line was the finishing touch. It cashed in on the repetition by giving it a resolution; otherwise, I think most readers would've just skimmed over it as OVER repeated, and the piece would've lost some of it's punch.

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Postby Cleo » Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:57 am

Verna wrote:My favorite repetition is from Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy evening, " which ends And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep.

Here's a little imitation of Frost's style

SUNSET MEDITATION

The sunset gold I came to see
Was not the sight that beckoned me.
Instead, the sun, red as could be,
Sank slowly in an old pine tree.

Before the sun was out of sight,
The moon was ready to take flight
And bring reminder with its light:
God's in control; the world's aright.

And since I know my life He’ll keep
Within His care through night-clouds deep,
I'll close my eyes and go to sleep.
I’ll close my eyes and go to sleep.


This is really, really lovely, Verna. :)
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Postby Cleo » Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:00 am

Can I post a poem from Jane Kenyon on here? I hope it's okay.
It's beautiful.
I LOVE poetry! :mrgreen:

Let Evening Come
by Jane Kenyon


Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
.................................................
..................................................
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Postby glorybee » Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:08 am

Chely, I loved reading your writer's insight into "The Stalker's Curse." You did exactly the right thing--it was like dissonance resolving into unison.

Thanks too, for the passages from Revelation. The Writer of scripture sure knew what He was doing!
Jan Ackerson

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Postby glorybee » Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:09 am

Cleo, that's a gorgeous poem, and show us what a master poet can do with simple words mostly of one syllable, arranged perfectly. Thanks for posting it!
Jan Ackerson

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Postby Cleo » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:24 am

Isn't that the truth Jan? Masterful!

So glad I could share Jane Kenyon's poem with you. :)
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Postby lthomas » Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:49 pm

Hey Jan, I hope you are feeling better...the weather up your way is so brutal! I pray for all of you affected by it as well as the defenseless animals left to fend for themselves.

Now, as to my homework, I'll submit this The Golden Thread

It was written in prose, but included a somewhat poetic line after each paragraph:
Draw close
Embrace long
Bright embers turn pale
How were we to know
.

Until the very last closing where I concluded with this line:
Refining golden threads.

The reason I did this, is that the repeated lines were, to me, like a heart beat caught in a moment that would not move on. That is until the writer realized the love he and his wife shared was for eternity and not just for the present.

In it, I hoped to show that love is indeed eternal based on God's faithfulness to his promises.

Loren
"And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything." From "As You Like It." Wm. Shakespeare.

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