Friday, July 13, 2007

Rhetorically Speaking...

Not only am I a grammar geek, but I studied philosophy for my minor in college. That means that the Forest of Rhetoric holds particular allure for me. I can’t wait to delve into some of the trees and to study the flowers. I suspect that mine is a rare fascination but I thought I’d share the link.

What I read of the site hinted at great depths in the analysis of language. Try not to be turned off by the technical terms listed. You need not know what a technique is called in order to use it. Rhetoric is learning to use language more effectively. In a strictly informational piece, this may not be critical if you have a good grasp of grammar and spelling. In a persuasive article, knowing how logic and emotion work through language is crucial.

If a less technical overview of rhetoric, as well as some great advice for composing and editing your writing, appeals to you, check out the English Composition Manual at Arkansas State University’s web site. There is a lengthy, straight-forward discussion of why understanding rhetoric is important to writing well.

While you’re clicking on rhetorical links, check out the Colorado State Writing Lab’s site on setting the rhetorical context of your piece. This is actually intended to help teacher’s craft writing assignments, but it’s applicable to helping yourself write as well.

The Arkansas State and Colorado State sites give excellent writing tips. Both of them include ways to find topics through free writing as well as various rewriting and editing methods. I have been exploring a lot of writing and composition sites, both for this blog and for my own information. Both of these sites struck me as clearly and thoroughly written.

Take advantage of the tools that are out there to strengthen your skills. It can help you not only compose better articles but to persuade people to hire you to write them in the first place. A well-crafted resume and query letter will go far toward convincing people that you know what you’re doing and are worth the investment.