This post is an extension to my previous guide: Journalism 101: Language Analysis. The ability to analyse how language is used to persuade an audience is critical to any journalist; it is also handy knowledge for daily readers of the news so they can avoid being manipulated by crafty journalists. Once you have learnt all of the different persuasive techniques from the previous guide, you would be wise to find an article in the paper, get a highlighter and a pen and try to pinpoint all of the persuasion tactics being employed. This is analysing how language is used to create a certain response from the reader. Once you’ve made your notes, the next step for a student of journalism is to be able to construct an essay outlining and explaining each of the persuasive techniques that have been used. Every article uses at least one or two! Below is a bulletproof skeleton for constructing such an essay.
The most fundamental aspect to Journalism, and a skill that is drilled into students of the field before anything else is language analysis. Why? (you may ask). Simple: because journalists are required to write persuasively in order to subtly sway the reader into thinking or believing x instead of y. Before they can develop the ability to write in this manner, however, they must first learn how to analyse writing and track down it’s use of subliminal language persuasion. Below you will find the tools that they use – persuasive language techniques and their application in the world of journalism. Comb through this list and see if you can find the following persuasive techniques being used in today’s paper.
Grammar is hugely important in any language, not only in speech but also in writing. If you want to learn a new language then it is important that you know and understand how your own language’s grammar works first, so you can better understand the new language’s differences. Similarly, if you want to write professionally you (at the very least) need a sound understanding of basic grammar. After all, how can you consider yourself a good writer if you construct sentences with no idea of how you’re doing it? It’s analogous to playing an instrument and not knowing even basic music theory, such as the names of the notes. So here is my attempt to help others with what might just be the most overlooked subject in writing. Most writers find it boring even though it’s their greatest asset (all writers should be able to edit their own work) and it is the foundation for creating flowing prose: yes, it’s grammahh!
Part 1 of this grammar guide will be a glossary, which you can scan through and use as a reference for the rest of the guides as they are written. Spend some time with each of these terms, if you can, as they are all very useful to know.
‘There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.’
- Somerset Maugham
A plot is basically the skeleton of a story; it is the foundation that births the characters and the scenarios they find themselves in. Plot is absolutely essential to any work of fiction: if you plan on writing a story without a plot, don’t even expect your mother to read it, yet alone the rest of the world. Most works of fiction follow a plot, sometimes it’s a very linear plot, sometimes it’s a head numbingly complex plot, but in both cases the plot can either be amazing, awful, or anything in between. I am going to outline for you a bulletproof formula to plan and establish a solid plot for your story. This system was developed by James Scott Bell, author of the book Plot & Structure and is very easy to remember – it’s called the LOCK system.
By Michael Cunningham
Extract analysis is when you take an extract from a film, book or a play, and you analyse the the selected text and put it into context. Extract analyses are a great way to to hone your writing skills and your ability to flesh out ideas and themes. The best way to describe the process of extract analysis would be to compare it to the peeling of an onion. At first you describe what you see, which is the outer layer of the onion: this involves examining the language, use of repetition and colors for example. You then gradually peel off layers of the onion, discussing the symbolism perhaps. Finally you get to the core of the extract, and this is when you start to branch your ideas of the extract into a broader perspective, linking the extract back the entire text and its social connotations are key at this stage. Finally, you wrap it up. A good structure of the stages of extract analysis are as follows: