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Fairfield, Queensland, Australia
Fairfield Writers Group is a mix of beginner and experienced writers who meet the second and fourth Saturdays of the month at the Brisbane City Council Library in Fairfield Gardens Shopping Centre, Fairfield road, Fairfield, Queensland. Our passion is writing and we work hard at our craft. Our aim is to encourage, support and help each other to reach new heights in our writing. New members are always made welcome and usually whisked off to the local coffee shop at the end of meetings for sustenance and socialisation with the rest of the crew.

Welcome to Fairfield Writers Group

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Saturday, July 2, 2011



For our July exercise, two options have been provided. The first involves writing four very short pieces, and members may wish to do all or only selected exercises from the four suggested. Those who opt for the first Exercise may find the notes on Repetition in Writing that follow this page helpful.


1. Using alliteration, write an advertising motto or slogan for a new kitchen device or lawn mowing service, or a roadside stand.

2. Identify any instances of use of aural repetition devices in the following paragraph:

The bell jingled above the door, and Walt Comeau danced inside, is arms extended like an old-fashioned crooners, his silver hair slicked back on the sides, fifties style. “Don’t let the stars get in your eyes,” he warbled. “Don’t let the moon break your heart.’

Using this example as a guide, create your own scene. Bring a lively character into a setting.
Give the setting some sound, like an alarm or blender, a lawn mower, a baby crying, children playing, etc.
Give your character one line of dialogue. Use one or more sound devices.

3. Study the use of anaphora in the following exert from The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse:

Nanapush cursed the moose, cursed himself, cursed the fishhooks, cursed the person who so carefully and sturdily constructed the boat that would not fall apart…

Create the mood of boredom by placing a teenager in a scene in which he is stuck in a study hall, in traffic, or in front of the TV. Repeat a single verb to emphasize the teen’s boredom.

4. In Where No Gods Came, Sheila O’Connor uses anaphora and climax to emphasize her narrator’s disdain of a character named Wiley:

I despise Wiley for showing up in our lives and ruining everything… Wiley hooting and hollering until the morning. Wiley, with his long sideburns winding down his face, his brown teeth. Wiley telling my dad it was a waste of a life to work for a living.

Think of something you love to hate. List four disgusting things about it, then number in ascending order of importance. Guided by the example above, create a paragraph using anaphora and climax to express your hatred.

(For those who do not wish to engage in study of the use of various types of repetition)

Write a letter to a friend of loved one who is deceased telling them what you will miss about them.
Max. 1000 words.

Repetition in Writing

We’ve all heard it, haven’t we? Warnings that repetition is boring, or a particular word or phrase is redundant. And we all know how painful repetition can be.

Some of our earliest memories are of feeling frustrated at the tedious repetition of instructions or warnings by parents and teachers… those endless tiring lectures! Remember?

But have you erroneously convinced yourself that there is no place for repetition in your writing? Do you know when, where and how to repeat for effect?

Do you shudder when you detect repetition in the work of the literary greats, or do you study how and why they used it and appreciate its power?

Repetition has a place in writing, but generally when it’s used to good effect, it’s not described as repetition. There are several writing techniques that involve repetition – done right! Learning how to employ these techniques can enrich your writing and super-power your message.

Repeating sounds
Poets, advertising gurus, and journalists who need attention-grabbing headlines use sound repetition to great effect, making catchy mottos and slogans and riddles that roll off the tongue in a memorable musical medley.

But alliteration, assonance, consonance and onomatopoeia have their place in essays, short stories and novels too. Used wisely, they can transform paragraphs from mundane to magical. Judiciously used, aural repetition can add music, excitement, action and pace. It can enhance the harsh, mellow, wild or peaceful quality of a phrase.

(Can you find where any of these devices have been used in the paragraph above?)

Aural repetition is also used to great effect by statesmen and speech makers. Where most effectively used, it can transform an otherwise ordinary statement into a classic pronouncement that so impacts and influences that it earns a place in the library of most famous quotations and it’s author a place among the speaking greats.


Alliteration is the repetition of the initial consonant. Note that alliteration refers to aural repetition, not visual, so the it relies on repetition of the initial sound rather than the letter. Thus, pheasant and finch alliterate, but knight and kite do not.

Alliteration is extensively used in children’s books, riddles, slogans, mottos, and headlines. Beware of using it for alliteration’s sake, though, or you risk it sounding forced. Used correctly, it adds emphasis,action, noise, and energy. It can jog the memory and tickle the ear.

Consider this description of a famous female film star: ‘feisty, formidable, and fiercely independent’.

Try substituting synonyms. Does ‘spunky, redoubtable, and strongly independent work as well?

What about ‘testing tolerance for threat and torment’? Can you substitute ‘challenging patience’without losing something in the translation?

Assonance and Consonance:
Assonance is the repetition of the internal vowel sound, as in the repetition of the u in husk and shuck.

Consonance is the repetition of the internal consonant, as in the ‘k’ at the end of husk and shuck or the ‘st’ sound in haste and waste.
Assonance tends to calm and slow, while consonance underlines and excites.


Derived from the Greek onoma and poiein, meaning ‘to make a name’, onomatopoeia refers to the art of naming an object or action for the sound associated with it, as with words like buzz, jingle, boom,crash, crack, or boing.
A device popular with children’s authors, onomatopoeia can be used to add sound and diminish the
need for extended detail. Effective use amplifies tension and sound.

Consider these examples:

A faint tiny noise. A rattling. A chattering. A chattering. And getting louder – yes – chattering teeth. Arnold Jones’ teeth. They’re chattering like snare drums. (MANIAC MAGEE, by Jerry Spinelli)

…but hearing Dad wark and hawk, and bits of his lung hitting whang in the pan. (PEACE LIKE A RIVER, by Leif Enger)

…we put back our hoods expecting the chugs and growls of plow trucks. (PEACE LIKE A RIVER, by Leif Enger)

…Kissed me bang smack on the mouth (JOURNALS, by Sylvia Plath)
…a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner (A CHRISTMAS CAROL, by Charles Dickens)

Lists, Asyndetons and Polysyndetons

Writers love lists: lists of personalities in a courtroom or at a gala event, of members of a team, of historic events… Often, writers use lists of three, because trios tend to have balance. More than three– a multiplicity – is often the key to a story or scene, but its possible to create the impression of multiplicity without risking putting the reader to sleep by itemizing every item. A popular device for achieving this is the use of asyndeton – omission of the conjunction generally used to bind words or hrases together.

Study lists that use a conjunction in the traditional way. Do you see that they tend to create the impression of finality?

I love stories. Romance, crime and mystery.
The ‘and’ suggests that this is the end of the list. There are no other types of books that I love.

Contrast this with: I love stories. Romance, crime, mystery…

Do you get the feeling there might be more to follow?

The omission of the conjunction causes a catalog to appear open-ended.
On the other hand, however, we might use polysyndetons – the repetition of conjunctions in close succession, especially where some might be omitted (as in 'he ran and jumped and laughed for joy').

Repeating conjunctions tends to create a feeling of building up, or endlessness.
Consider the different effect created when the sentence about books is changed to:

I love stories. I love romance stories and crime stories and mystery stories and I love lots of other kinds of stories too.

Anaphora: Repetition of Leading Words

Anapherein is Greek for to carry back or to refer to. Anaphora adds emphasis by making reference to a previously used word or words; by creating relationships between segments of a sentence, verses or paragraph.

Anaphora is extensively used by speechmakers, and its use has enshrined certain extracts from speeches by great statesmen, like this phrase from a speech by Dwight D Eisenhower made in 1953:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies…a theft from those who hunger and are not fed.
And this one from Winston Churchill’s memorable speech made in 1940.

…whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we

shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender.

The Bible also made extensive use of anaphora. One well-remembered example is:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

And in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance…etc.

Study the impact of these verses, which flow off the tongue so smoothly and are so memorable that they inspired a song.

Consider this classic example of anaphora by Louise Erdrich:

He wrote to the Governor of North Dakota, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to,,. He  wrote the President of the United States and to county officials on every level. He wrote to

Bernadette Morrissey and to the sick former land agent…He wrote to the state senators and representatives and

Exhausted from reading about all those people he wrote to? That’s exactly what the writer intended…that you should be as exhausted reading as her character was writing all those letters!

Epistrophe: Repetiton of closing words

Just as anaphora adds emphasis by repeating leading words or phrases, epistrophe emphasizes by repeating closing words or phrases, as in Abraham Lincoln’s memorable:

 Of the people, for the people, by the people Or the biblical”
Love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Repeat it with a twist: Use Antimetabole

From the Greek word meaning to turn in the opposite direction, antimetabole refers to the repetition of an identical word or phrase in reverse grammatical order. Here are three memorable sentences that employ antimetabole:
            When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

            You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.

            Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

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