An element of style that I’ve become aware of in the last few years is rhythm. It’s an undercurrent with impact, like the background music of a movie.
Rhythm and syncopation. Alliteration and rhyme. Beat and backbeat. It drives your point home.
I’ve also been learning about propaganda. Getting a message across emotionally. We have many channels to receive in, and sending messages across them all is effective.
My Dad can recall to you thousands of limerics. Rhythm and rhyme, with a lemon twist.
Words are a hobby to me, and I try to make them prose poetry. Or at least interesting. It’s an engaging hobby.
Do you ever think about elements of style? I shouldn’t say think – much of our process is unconscious. What are your interests and influences as you choose your words?
That’s why I go for that that rock and roll music
Any old way you choose it
It’s got a back beat, you can’t lose it,
Any old time you use it
Another element of style I’ve picked up on is Neuro Linguistic Programming. One word that sounds like another can cue our expectations and bring in associations. The schmuck that drove a much truck liked to (?). And one word placed in a sentence will set up the mind to receive that meaning as if it were also in other parts of the sentence.
Rhythm combined with pace with skill is what makes the written word fun to read, keeps the reader engaged, and allows certain points to be driven home.
For example:”… Or at least interesting. It’s an engaging hobby.” led BK to say “… is what makes the written word fun to read, keeps the reader engaged, ”
In my sentence engaging has two meanings – the literal one is constrained by the words location in relation to other words. The NLP one is the background of expectations it sets up. Words set up our mind to be ready to perceive associations. We get cued. So we can say things without literally saying them.
This is subliminal, but as powerful as perfume. We can use the echo of words as well as their meaning.
Another element of style that I use inadvertantly and not always to good effect is to use a difficult to decipher wildly poetic sentence, and then follow it up later with easily understood graphic metaphors. I forgive myself the sloppiness of the poorly constructed sentences if they eventually set the reader up for an aha moment.
Another favorite trick is to use words with multiple meanings. In the phrase “we get cued”, cued has several similar and relevant meanings (and sounds like queued), and so makes the sentence rich with hidden associations.