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I'll start this lesson with a question: what do you do as a writer, when you are struggling to put across a theme which is perhaps too abstract for your reader? How do you make this theme acceptable to the senses? I'll tell you: a good writer can devise a type of image unlike any other we have studied so far, called the arresting image.
Think for example at the feeling of despair. How would you describe it, or even simply write about it, integrate it in your writing so that your readers can relate to it without having to stop their reading to think about your words? How would you do it smoothly?
In a less gloomy situation than the one pictured above, let's see how Andrew Marvell deals with just about every abstraction you could think of - I'm talking of his majestic poem "The Definition of Love":
Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing,
Where feeble Hope could ne'r have flown
But vainly flapt its Tinsel Wing.
Also notice how for Marvel and poets of that time all nouns are proper nouns, i.e. names to be honoured with a capital letter.
Perhaps unlike you might think, the arresting image is not the exclusive property of poetry. It could be used in plays as well as prose. Let's consider an example from a novel by one of my favourite writers, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I'm talking of "On Hundred Years of Solitude":
"Then they went into Jose Buendia's room, shook him as hard as they could, shouted in his ear, put a mirror in front of his nostrils, but could not awaken him.
A short time later, when the carpenter took measurements for the coffin, through the window they saw a light rain of tiny yellow flowers falling. They fell on the town all through the night in a silent storm, and they covered the roofs and blocked the doors and smothered the animals who slept outdoors. So many flowers fell from the sky that in the morning the streets were carpeted with a compact cushion they had to move them with shovels so the funeral procession could pass by."
Is it the case that you had to stop after reading this passage and wonder at the image that came to your mind? Or perhaps you had to wipe a tear off...
That kind of writing is called arresting and you could do it as well, if you had the image formed in your head clearly and then applied disciplined practice in choosing and polishing your words to reveal it to your readers and stir their feelings in the process.
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Here we shall build some lessons to help you improve your writing skills.
Lots of lessons: cause & effect, comparisons, linking signals, relative clauses, presenting information, expressing emotions and grammar games, of course. We had more lessons on: intensifying adverbs and phrasal verbs, expressing various concepts such as addition, exception, restriction and ambiguity. Lately we started some exercises: likes/dislikes, frequency adverbs (twice), verb tenses, etc.
Learn how to build a website, by using the SBI! system - start from the basics, developing a site concept and a niche, supply and demand, learn about profitability and monetization, payment processing, register domain, website structure and content as a pyramid. Also learn about the tools I'm using to build this website. We also covered how to build traffic, working with search engines, building a good system of inbound links, using social marketing and blogs with the SBI system, how to use Socialize It and Form Build It, how to publish an e-zine and how to build a social network in your niche.
We looked at a few games by now: Countable & uncountable nouns, Free Rice, Name That Thing, Spell It, Spelloween, the Phrasal Verbs Game, Preposition Desert, The Sentence Game, Word Confusion, Word Wangling, Buzzing Bees, and The Verb Viper Game.
Be prepared to play and learn more pretty soon.