Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Glossary, R-S

Week of January 22, 2012—Picture Book Writer’s Glossary
Thursday, January 26, 2012—The Glossary, R-S


Repetition (purposeful)—purposeful repetition is created intentionally. Using the word “Then” to begin every sentence is not meaningful or purposeful and is dull. Using a word, phrase, or sentence (such as using Crash! Bang! Boom! OR But the best was yet to come.) several times throughout a writing piece to intentionally add interest or move the action along is purposeful repetition. See:

Revise—to alter something already written in order to improve, change, or clarify. Revision is more involved than editing since the writer is looking not for errors to correct, but ways to improve the writing as a whole.

Rhyme—a matching similarity in sounds in two or more words, especially when the accented vowel and the consonants that follow are all the same. (For instance: mall/fall; core/more, babble/dabble.) Picture book authors strive for perfect (exact) rhyme. See:

Rhythm—refers to the speed, intensity, and tone of a piece of writing. Think of this as the heart rate or heartbeat of the story. (All stories can have rhythm, but rhythm is especially a part of poetry and rhyming stories.)

Rule of Three—using words, phrases, sounds, etc. in groups of three. Three of anything seems to provide a pleasing, comforting feel for the reader. This could refer to repeating a sound three times (Whack! Whack! Whack!), three details (She was hungry. She was tired. She was lonely), or even three attempts/scenes of the main character attempting to solve his/her problem. See:


Sentence fragment (purposeful)— A meaningful sentence fragment can add sentence variety to a piece of writing. Sentence fragments are intentional and should appear in a limited number in a piece of writing. See:

Shouting caps—writing a word or phrase in all capital letters is called Shouting Caps. This technique adds interest, communicates emotions, and emphasizes the word or phrase. Shouting caps may be part of dialogue, but do not have to be. (For instance: I saw the moving van pull away. YES! YES! YES! My dream had finally come true.)

Show Don’t Tell—many authors have used this phrase or concept when writing. Mark Twain said, “Don’t say the old lady screamed—bring her on and let her scream.” In other words, instead of telling the reader what has happened, the writer SHOWS what has happened. Instead of “The woman screamed”, the author could write: “The old woman flung her cane into the air and let out a blood-curdling scream.”

Simile—a comparison of two dissimilar things using like or as in the comparison. (For instance: The clouds were fluffy like cotton candy. OR He was as smelly as a trashcan.) See:

Snapshot writing—this type of writing has been described by Barry Lane in his books The Revisers Tool Box and After the End. Think of how a snapshot freezes a moment in time with all the details of that moment captured for all to see. Snapshot writing does the same thing. It freezes the moment and helps the reader see all the details before moving on. NOTE: This technique is also called Exploding the Moment.

Specific Nouns—all authors use nouns (names of people, places, and things) in their writing. Good writers make the nouns specific. Instead of store, they write grocery store. Great writers use even more specific nouns. Instead of grocery store, they write Winn Dixie. Instead of dog, they write German Shepherd. These specific nouns add details to the writing and show the reader what the author is writing about.

Support (supporting details)—details that work to support the topic sentence or provide more detail about the topic sentence and also make the main idea stronger. Supporting details could be facts, personal experiences, examples, descriptions (using similes, alliteration, and other figurative language), or arguments for or against something. In every case support details should directly connect with the topic sentence of your paragraph.

Surprise ending—surprise endings (also known as twisted endings) are unexpected and can catch the reader off guard. The surprise ending may include irony or cause the reader to reevaluate the story. The writer must be careful to make the ending logical even though surprising. (For instance, introducing a character or super hero suddenly in the last paragraph to solve the story’s problem may not seem logical to the reader.) See:


Joanna said...

This is excellent A-Z of terms, Rob. Thank you.

Rob Sanders said...

Thanks, Joanna. Glad to know it's helpful!