Calling All Paladins, Druids, Necromancers, and Barbarians
Magic is a highly celebrated thing. We have it in movies, books, games (I’m looking at you DND and Magic The Gathering!) and decorations throughout our homes! Magic is a wonderful thing and we all strive to leave the real world behind. But what about everyday magic?
Believe it or not, writing is the closest you can get to casting a spell in real life. Knowing what to say and how to say it is KEY to getting your point across and convincing your audience to agree with you – talk about a Nat 20!
Leveling Up Your Stats
“I’m no good at writing, why bother?” is a thing I hear again and again. But think of it this way, if you are 20 years old then you are a level 20 human. If you have only spent a year writing, you’re only a level 1 writer. Can your character cast high level spells right off the bat? NO! You have to gain experience points, defeat bosses, and collect loot from the dungeons you explore AKA every time you put a pencil to paper or your fingers to a keyboard, you are writing and gaining experience!
How Can I Level Up?
Thank you for asking! The best and easiest way to level up is to understand how your audience thinks. For example, if you want an A on your paper then you need to write in a correct format with correct spelling and you need to make a good argument. Done. Easy. But how does that translate to real life? The answer is rhetoric!
The first of the rhetorical strategies is ethos! Ethos means “custom” or “character” in Greek. Ethos has everything to do with your credibility as an expert in your chosen writing topic and while it might not seem like it, it really isn’t very different than the alignment chart:
Not only is ethos establishing your ability to talk about a certain topic, but it is establishing your moral character in the minds of your readers. Can they trust what you are saying? Are you someone they want to learn from?
The easiest way to do this is not only backing up your statements with data points from credible sources, but also in the way you write your points.
WHAT YOU SAY: My opinion on X topic is Y.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO INSTEAD: Y is true of X because Z!
What does this look like in practice? Roll for Charisma!
WHAT YOU SAY: In my opinion, mimics would make fantastic pets if you fed them correctly!
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO INSTEAD: If fed correctly and often enough, mimics would make fantastic pets because they are just scared and hungry!
See how much more believable statement 2 is than statement 1? Not only are you STATING your point rather than trying to make sure everyone knows it’s “just your opinion”, you are giving a reason/data point behind what you are saying to help support your point!
Ethos is using wording and data to increase your credibility and stance as an expert in the eyes of others! It’s one of the four rhetorical strategies to help you roll a 20 every time!
[Which, by the way, this article here is a fantastic explanation of how to befriend a mimic and add it to your DND party!]
The second of the rhetorical strategies is pathos, which is all about emotions! I’m looking at you barbarians! Anger is an emotion!
Pathos is all about appealing to your audience via emotional imagery and scenarios. Think speeches just before war or a battle sequence. It can also be likened to when the Bard makes the dragon cry in order to get the party out of sticky situations!
WHAT YOU SAY: It is sad how many mimics are orphaned each year!
HOW YOU CAN SAY IT BETTER: 50 mimics are orphaned each week, struggling to survive and find the right camouflage to find food! They are starving, scared, and alone! We can help!
Notice the difference? Saying things to tug at the heart strings by painting a picture makes all the difference! This also works with other emotions, but I wanted to continue with the “adopt a mimic” theme!
The last of the 3 most widely known rhetorical strategies is Logos! Logos is when you appeal to an audience’s sense of reason or logic. This can usually be seen when children are begging their parents for pets. This same theme could also easily be seen in a situation where a member of the DND party was trying to convince the rest of the members to adopt a mimic!
WHAT YOU SAY: We should adopt a mimic because it’d be so cute!
WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: We should adopt a mimic because they will help the party out in times of crisis, they will be a good companion, and they can keep the party safe!
One is appealing to Pathos, emotions, by saying how cute the pet mimic is. The other is appealing to Logos by giving sound reasons and logic for why keeping a pet mimic would be a good idea!
The fourth rhetorical strategy of writing, that is not as widely talked about, is Kairos. Kairos refers to the timing of things. Specifically, saying things at the right time. The way this could manifest is waiting until after the barbarian has eaten breakfast to broach the subject of adopting a pet mimic!
WHAT NOT TO DO: Hey there, ThunderBeard! I know you just woke up but we should get a pet mimic!
[said right when the barbarian is waking up — WILL get something thrown at you]
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: Hey there, ThunderBeard! I see you’ve eaten breakfast and are awake and chipper for the day! I wanted to bring up the idea of adopting a mimic into our party! What do you think?
[Less likely to get items thrown at you – more likely to get a favorable response since the barbarian has eaten and is wide awake!]
Alright, Travelers, now that you know the difference between Ethos, Pathos, Logos, and Kairos AND know how to implement them — go out into the world and use these spells to your advantage! Adopt that mimic! Befriend that dragon! Take over that town! Nothing is impossible when you use rhetorical strategies of persuasion!
Until next time! Good luck with your new pet mimic!