Anaphora is a prose technique of repetition, and it packs a punch. (Yeah, I’ve got a weakness for alliteration too).
Anyway, anaphora means repeating the same word or phrase at the beginning of three or more sentences or phrases in a row. Its opposite is epistrophe – the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive phrases or sentences.
Here’s an example from the first chapter of The Hoodoo Detective, which I ended up not using in the book (because sometimes you have to kill your proverbial darlings):
But all Riga felt was irritation. Irritation that so far the Haunted New Orleans episode of Supernatural Encounters had been a bust. Irritation that she’d felt obliged to do the reality show. Irritation that she didn’t really need the money from the series, her husband had plenty for them both. And that left her awkwardly trying to demonstrate some relevance, keeping her hand in as an income earner. And why did she feel the need to prove herself in their marriage? At the thought of her husband, her annoyance vanished, replaced by longing. What was Donovan doing now?
Why use anaphora? It adds drama to a scene, creates a built-in rhythm, and can be used to emphasize an emotion, idea, or situation. It’s high impact and shouldn’t be used on every page (I’m wary of using it in every chapter). But I like both epistrophe and anaphora. A lot.
Your Wednesday writing challenge:
Write three sentences using anaphora. The sentences don’t have to be paranormal, but in the spirit of this blog, make them creepy.
And if you feel up to it, post your epistrophe below!
Kirsten Weiss is the author of Steam and Sensibility, a steampunk novel of suspense, and the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mysteries: the urban fantasy, The Metaphysical Detective, The Alchemical Detective, The Shamanic Detective, The Infernal Detective, The Elemental Detective, and The Hoodoo Detective.