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Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

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.

Moderators: mikeedwards, glorybee

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yarra
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby yarra » Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:47 am

Hi Jan,

I looked though my Challenge entries, mainly poetry, and found that I had hardly used any alliteration. Then I found this one in which I had used some alliteration.

http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article- ... p?id=42537

I found the following alliterations:

Downcast eyes, dusty feet, an infant on her back...

simple life survival is the order of the day. ...

Walking for the water takes an hour at least, ...

Safety in their number, sisters of the war, ...

hungry bulging bellies, the menu rude. ...

Soft words she utters, in a plaintive prayer, ...

I really like alliteration, in moderation, in others' work so I was glad to find that I had used some. In this particular poem, 'Ayana's Day', I think it enhances the flow of the poem. I have used a lot more rhyme and rhythm than alliteration.

Now, here's a quick attempt at an alliterative poem about cars on a freeway. It's probably 'overkill' - too much alliteration. Anyway, here it is, just for the sake of having a go.

With the roar of the road, the squealing of tyres,
the freeway bears its beasts,
And the smoky smell of petroleum fuel
wafts on the languid wind.

People of purpose are driving their cars
to appointments far and near
In their four-wheeled way they rumble along
in cabin-cocooned comfort

oblivious to the odours
sounds softened.

Thanks in advance for looking at these. Blessings, Elllen

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby lish1936 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:25 am

Ellen,

Just surfing through. I'm not Jan, but I like your "overkill" cars on the freeway poem.
By the way, I couldn't find any alliteration in excess.

But Jan's the expert. I'm anxious to see what she says. :D

Lillian
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I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby glorybee » Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:26 am

yarra wrote:Hi Jan,

I looked though my Challenge entries, mainly poetry, and found that I had hardly used any alliteration. Then I found this one in which I had used some alliteration.

http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article- ... p?id=42537

I found the following alliterations:

Downcast eyes, dusty feet, an infant on her back...

simple life survival is the order of the day. ...

Walking for the water takes an hour at least, ...

Safety in their number, sisters of the war, ...

hungry bulging bellies, the menu rude. ...

Soft words she utters, in a plaintive prayer, ...

I really like alliteration, in moderation, in others' work so I was glad to find that I had used some. In this particular poem, 'Ayana's Day', I think it enhances the flow of the poem. I have used a lot more rhyme and rhythm than alliteration.

Now, here's a quick attempt at an alliterative poem about cars on a freeway. It's probably 'overkill' - too much alliteration. Anyway, here it is, just for the sake of having a go.

With the roar of the road, the squealing of tyres,
the freeway bears its beasts,
And the smoky smell of petroleum fuel
wafts on the languid wind.

People of purpose are driving their cars
to appointments far and near
In their four-wheeled way they rumble along
in cabin-cocooned comfort

oblivious to the odours
sounds softened.

Thanks in advance for looking at these. Blessings, Elllen


Ellen, I'm glad that you found some alliteration that was there by accident. You're right--it added a lot to your poem. I especially like the line "safety in their number, sisters of the war."

It's much the same for the little car poem--you've done a fine job. I appreciate your contributions to this forum!
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby yarra » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:59 am

Thanks Lillian, and thanks Jan, for your comments.

I think you've already said it, Jan, but don't you think alliteration is easier to do in poetry than in prose? I guess it's just that poetry tends to rely on sounds more than prose does. (My opinion only.) But that said, I'll be looking out for alliteration in prose now.

I'm enjoying your lessons, Jan, when I have the time to browse the forums. Thanks!

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby glorybee » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:45 am

yarra wrote:Thanks Lillian, and thanks Jan, for your comments.

I think you've already said it, Jan, but don't you think alliteration is easier to do in poetry than in prose? I guess it's just that poetry tends to rely on sounds more than prose does. (My opinion only.) But that said, I'll be looking out for alliteration in prose now.

I'm enjoying your lessons, Jan, when I have the time to browse the forums. Thanks!


You're absolutely right. In fact, there should be a pretty compelling reason for using lots of alliteration in prose. These reasons come to mind:

1. Stories for very young children
2. Comical or whimsical bits--I can imagine, for example, a character walking into a store named Tootie's Toilets and Toys.
3. A writer of lyrical prose, going for a specific literary effect (as I did in "Smoke and Shadows").

But there's absolutely no reason to routinely incorporate alliteration into most prose pieces. It's just a tool that prose writers should be aware of, to use for specific effect.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby Come forth » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:25 pm

Hi Jan, I've been missing in action for a week or two but glad to be catching up.

I enjoyed this lesson and used alliteration in my last challenge entry; maybe I even used it a little too much. But I enjoyed deliberately looking for the opportunity -- particularly in the last line where I used it to indicate the strength of change in my MC.

If you have time and don't mind, take a look and give me some feedback. Particularly on where I may have overdone it.

here's the link: http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article- ... p?id=47028

Thanks, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby glorybee » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:17 pm

Come forth wrote:I enjoyed this lesson and used alliteration in my last challenge entry; maybe I even used it a little too much. But I enjoyed deliberately looking for the opportunity -- particularly in the last line where I used it to indicate the strength of change in my MC.

If you have time and don't mind, take a look and give me some feedback. Particularly on where I may have overdone it.

here's the link: http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article- ... p?id=47028

Thanks, Graham.


Graham, I have mixed feelings about this. As a person who appreciates all kinds of word play and word manipulation, I enjoy finding alliteration in prose, where it's not often seen. But I'm not sure if this is the right kind of prose for it. This is purely my own subjective take on it, but I think I'd rather see alliteration in the kind of prose where the intention is to write something moody and lyrical, OR in whimsical prose aimed at a younger audience.

In a straightforward narrative like this one, I'm not sure what the purpose is, and it could actually be a bit distracting--calling attention to itself.

Here's your last paragraph:

George hit speed dial as he headed for his car. "Hey mum, it's me. Tell Sissy I'm on my way home to get her. Ice cream and a movie with my super sister suddenly seem sweet."

Here, using five "s" words in a row really makes it seem as if this sentence is jumping up and down and waving its arms at the reader. However, I like your concept of using "s" words (as Sissy's name begins with "s") to indicate your main character's change of heart. Maybe just a few less words, or not quite in such close proximity to each other.

George hit speed dial as he headed for his car. "Hey mum, it's me. Tell Sissy I'm on my way home to get her. Ice cream and a movie with my adorable sister suddenly seem perfectly sweet."

As I said, this may just be me--I'd love to know how others perceived your alliteration here and elsewhere in the story.

I'm thrilled to see the last lesson put into practice, though, and I'm sure that as you continue to work on it, you'll find additional ways to use alliteration effectively.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby Come forth » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:44 pm

Thanks for the feedback Jan; and for confirming what I already knew.

I took note of what you said about using alliteration in titles when it didn't fit the mood; and therefore knew I was going too far and laying it on too thick in a piece which was not light and flimsy -- but I couldn't resist.

Also, ain't no use learning without yearning to give it a try.

Thanks, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby swfdoc1 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:50 am

This has nothing to do with alliteration IN WRITING, but it is so timely, I couldn't resist sharing it. Yesterday the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case about invocations at town council meetings. Per the transcript, Justice Scalia said this during the argument:

If it was constitutional in the past, why -- why would it be unconstitutional if the same thing is done today, even without any past parallel practice. That's a nice alliteration. Is past parallel practice essential?
Steve
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things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“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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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby lish1936 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:36 pm

Steve, Jan,

Sorry to interject a non-alliterative question.

Does using a colon eliminate the need to put quote marks around a quoted statement?

Thanks,
Always learning Lillian - A little alliteration here. :D
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I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby glorybee » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:26 pm

I don't know if Steve will see your question, Lillian, but I'll leave it to him to answer, since I think you're asking about his last post.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby swfdoc1 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:02 pm

You always have to do SOMETHING to indicate a quotation. Although you don't see colons used to introduce a quotation in fiction much anymore, should you chose to do so, you would almost always use quotation marks. The only exception I can think of is if you had a character reading a long extract from something, say from a letter or from a book. Then you might use a block quote (i.e., text indented on both sides or conceivably on one side) or perhaps italics or a different font. Unless you self-publish, that will be determined by your publisher's style guide. This may or may not be linked to how many words are in the quotation. In non-fiction, at least academic non-fiction, the governing style manual will tell you when you can or (often) must (in terms of word count) switch from quotation marks to a block quote.

In the case of my last post, I was just being lazy (since it was "just" a post), using a "unindented block quote." I won't be surprised to see other people doing the same thing in blogs etc. (and in self-published books). So if you see something ,and the context tells you it is a quotation; don't be faked out by my saying you "have" to do something.
Steve
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“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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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby lish1936 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:08 pm

Steve,
You certainly put your lawyer's hat on to answer THAT question. :lol: Let me see if I got it.

You have to do "SOMETHING," and if you're not a lazy writer, that something means one should add quotes when writing a quote; except there are time when bloggers and self-published authors may also, or eventually do as you did - use an unindented block quote.

How'd I do?

Lillian
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I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby swfdoc1 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:05 pm

Well, I won't repeat it all again--one dose of lawyer per day is usually enough for most people. But if you compare what I wrote to what you wrote, you'll see that you left a few options out. (But I'm not sure you're last post was a serious one or just teasing :D .)
Steve
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“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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Re: Be a Better Writer--ALLITERATION

Postby lish1936 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:44 pm

No, Steve, I REALLY want to know, but that's okay. I've hijacked this thread enough. Perhaps another time and space...but you do make me think. :handshake

Lillian
E-Book - Retirement Lane - How to Celebrate Life After 60

Fortunate 500


I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

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