Cohesion and Emphasis - from Ann Trubek


  Writing that "FLOWS" is writing that gently takes the reader from the familiar to the unfamiliar.
  BEGIN sentences with ideas already mentioned or familiar concepts.
  END sentences with the newest, most surprising material.
    Transitions to connect one sentence to a previous one (in addition, but, etc.)
    Evaluations of what's to follow (fortunately, perhaps, etc.)
    Location of action in place and time
  MOST IMPORTANTLY, announce the TOPIC of a sentence at the beginning.
  Subordinate the other three beginnings to the topic:
  As a result, for the most part, in 1999, the Owls have been a winning team.
  It's BEST to put the topic in the subject position - other ways to do this are to put the topic in an introductory phrase:
  As for who will win the tournament, no one knows.
  Or put the object of the sentence first, in a Selzer-esque reversal of syntax:
  Who will win the tournament, no one knows.
  Or revise to make the topic into the subject:
  The tournament winner hasn't been determined yet.
  What's important is the CUMULATIVE SEQUENCE of topics:
  In 1999, the Owls have played fairly consistently. The team seems to get along well, and Mark Karcher, the rookie forward, has been surprisingly effective. Although relatively inexperienced, Karcher has become the team's leader. With Karcher at the helm, Temple is destined to reach the Final Four.
  CHOPPY, disjointed, unfocused Prose doesn't have a consistent string of topics:
  Pepe Sanchez is from Argentina. Guards aren't usually foreign in the NCAA. Temple always relies on its guards and outside shooting. Sanchez is a key player on the team. When the team is hitting threes, they tend to win. Even if he doesn't speak English fluently, Sanchez sure knows the language of basketball!!
  THE SECRET TO A CLEAR AND READABLE STYLE IS THE FIRST FIVE OR SIX WORDS OF EVERY SENTENCE - locate your reader in familiar territory, create a consistent point of view and a consistent topic string. Try to make the subjects of your sentences the topics as well.
  Will that make your prose monotonous? Less so than tons of nominalizations and passive voices:
  Basketball is a very graceful sport. It requires athleticism and elegance. Naismith's invention has come a long way. The sport that requires five players to tip off against five other players is being watched by the whole nation in March.
  Sometimes the passive is necessary to create cohesion:
  Agree that Pepe has NBA potential.
  Pepe is good enough to make it to the next level. His NBA potential has been noted by coaches, fans and sportswriters.
  How to see how you've handled topics:
  1.) Run a line under the first five or six words of every sentence.
  2.) Read the phrases underlined straight through.
  3.) If any of them seems clearly outside the general set of topics, check whether it refers      to ideas mentioned toward the end of the previous sentence.
  4.) If not, consider revising.
  How do you design your subject-verb has effects: who is given responsibility? Agency for actions?
  Temple has not advanced as far as it might have in recent tournaments. Often, they lose to Cincinnati.
  The NCSS committee always gives Temple a bad draw. They make them play the evil Cincinnati team (full of cheaters, by the way) year after year.
  Simply, to sum up: Start sentences with old information, usually with a character as a subject. Then follow with a verb that expresses crucial action. Move complex information to the end of sentences. Make certain strings of topics are consistent and appropriate.

  The end of the sentence is the stress.
  How to manage endings?
  The Temple Zone confuses opponents whenever they come up against it.
  John Chaney is an extraordinary motivator most days of the week.
  Another key factor in tomorrow's game against Kent will be Rasheed Brokenborough.
  John Chaney says that defense is more important that offense, contrary to what many couches espouse.
  SOME SYNTACTIC DEVICES to add weight to ends of sentences:
  Avoid beginning too many sentences with "There is" or "There are", but sometimes us it for emphasis:
  There are few teams in the NCAA who can beat Temple.
  Use "what" construction:
  What Temple needs to do is hit the boards.
  Use "it" as the subject to shift a long subject clause to the end:
  That Temple will advance to the Sweet Sixteen seems inevitable.
  Don't do these too much, as they are very self-conscious. Throw them in now and again.
  These are the technical aspects that make up "Flowing or "Choppy styles or voices. Learn how to manipulate them so you can speak in many different voices. You'll be able to CHOOSE how your writing sounds, rather than feel helplessly that your writing "doesn't flow", or "isn't clear."
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