The Study Dude – Schemes, Rhythm, and Punchy Paragraphs

Study Tips from a Semi-Anonymous Friend

The Study Dude – Schemes, Rhythm, and Punchy Paragraphs

There is nothing more that The Study Dude wants for you than to make musical essays.

Well, in these articles, as The Study Dude, I’ll try to give you the study tips you need to help make your learning easier. I’ll also give you straight and honest opinions and personal anecdotes?even the embarrassing ones that you wouldn’t ever dare read about from any other study tip guru.

This week’s Study Dude further explores Mastering the Craft of Writing: How to Write With Clarity, Emphasis, & Style by Stephen Wilbers. He teaches you how to craft your paragraphs, add a skip to your writing?and unleash your inner schemes.

Perfect Paragraphs
I ask you, do you not shed tears when ending your paragraphs with a dry summary? Well, you should. Summary endings bore us all. don’t rehash; make a splash.

Journalists love to make a splash. In journalism, paragraphs don’t work like they do in universities. With journalism, your paragraphs are short and stripped of wordiness. In journalism, unlike universities, you don’t end your paragraph with a summary; you end with a bang.

That’s why people pay to read magazine articles. And That’s why your professor gets paid big bucks to skim, I mean read, your essays.

So, how can you enliven your paragraphs so that professors will beg for more? End with a punch, says Wilbers.

Wilbers advises you to end your paragraphs with the following tricks. And, what’s more, he tells all on how to write punchy paragraphs:
– For your paragraphs, academic writing tends to demand an introductory sentence, a development, and a concluding sentence. Narrative writing (such as fiction writing) uses paragraphs to mark changes in dialogue and scenes.
– Use shorter paragraphs for laid-back writing; longer ones for academic writing.
– In any kind of writing, following a long paragraph with a one-sentence paragraph can spice up your writing. In creative writing, the one-sentence paragraph could contain a fragment. But, for academic writing, you want to avoid fragments (or at least use them sparingly). You could use a lively device such as a rhetorical question for the one-sentence paragraph. And why wouldn’t you?
– Make the last sentence of a paragraph full of life or humor or imagery. End your paragraphs “with a quip, a colorful quote, a vivid image, a thought-proving analogy, or an imaginative simile or metaphor” (p. 210)?like a final scene of a daydream.
– Put your biggest ideas in the first and last sentences.
– Put a shorter paragraph after a longer one to add variety.

Do you like to write poetry? Well, if you do, I bet you’ve got rhythm. And add that and a touch of schemes to your writing and you’ve got what it takes to ignite any reader’s adrenaline.

What’s a scheme? Schemes play with the structures of your sentence so that your sentence structure sounds like music. But no-one likes a constant schemer, so you’ll sometimes want to tug apart the poetic feel with a break in flow, says Wilbers.

Many devices exist for creating a poetic structure in your sentences. Wilbers reveals:
– If you make a list, and you begin it with a sentence fragment, every item in the list should begin with a sentence fragment. If you start with an -ing word {a gerund), every item in the list should begin with a gerund. If you start with a noun, every item in the list should start with a noun. And so on.
– Schemes are plays on sentence structures; tropes are figures of speeches such as metaphors and similes. Schemes include things such as chiasmus, anaphora, epistrophe, anadiplosis, and isoclon?all potentially names of Star Trek characters.
– A balanced sentence repeats similar parts: free is the fox; fixed is the hunter.
– An anithetical sentence is a balanced sentence with a negative in one of the repeated parts: Not that life is short, but that enduring it seems forever.
– A loose sentence has a main clause with parallel items in a series following it: Life is contentious, sometimes ornery, often whiny, always unsentimental. In this case, Life is contentious is the main clause and the remainder of the sentence consists of a series of items.
– A periodic sentence is like a loose sentence, but with the main clause at the end: Sometimes ornery, often whiny, always unsentimental, life is contentious. Unlike a loose sentence, periodic sentences create suspense and drama.
– Without subordinate sentences every now and then, your writing will suck.

So, there’s nothing to fear. The Study Dude is determined to make right for you all the wrongs I made in grad school?one A+ at a time.

Wilbers, Stephen. (2014). Mastering the Craft of Writing: How to Write with Clarity, Emphasis, & Style. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer’s Digest Books.