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Once we get a handle of the power of diction and syntax, we can start to improve

by | Jun 22, 2022 | English

 

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Once we get a handle of the power of diction and syntax, we can start to improve our analyzing and writing skills. In the beginning of this module, you listened to the teacher analyze the diction in the Prince’s speech from Romeo and Juliet. In this assignment, you will be doing the writing. American author Edgar Allan Poe called this the Unity of Effect. He felt that every author should begin by settling clearly on one (i.e., unity) specific emotion (i.e., effect) he wished to communicate to the reader. He was all about creating a powerful emotional response through word choice.
Task: Using intentional diction choices, create the opening to a story that suggests a specific effect. In this opening, underline and footnote 5 diction choices. In the footnote, give an alternative diction choice with the WRONG connotation (e.g. a positive one when you want a negative one). Requirements:
• 500 words
• No plot
• Specific nouns
• Strong verbs
Nota bene:
• Do not write a story. Focus only on creating a specific emotional effect.
• Do not use the “effect” word; let your details create it.
Writing Help: If you wanted to create a sense of hopelessness, you might use words like gray, black, cloudy, solitude, silence and images like a burnt field, a formidable glacier. If you wanted to created joy, you might use words like yellow, sunshine, laughter, friends, summer. And images of children giggling and puppies peeking out of a basket. Anticipation might be evoked by diction choices such as sunrise or eager and images like stretching, eyes opening, rapid breathing, fidgeting, focused mind. Or fear might find shape in black, eyes darting, owl sounds, footsteps, and creaking floors.
Footnote Help: Think about the following examples: the italicized word has a fairly neutral connotation. For each word in italics, there are two words, one with a positive connotation and one with a negative connotation.
Example: Scrapple is an inexpensive meal.
Negative connotation: cheap
Positive connotation: thrifty
Example: Kevin’s interest in model cars has turned into a hobby.
Negative connotation: obsession Positive connotation: pastime
Example: Uncle Henry lives in a cabin deep in the woods.
Negative connotation: shack
Positive connotation: lodge

 

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