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The Journey



The senior student of rhetoric is almost ready to teach. At this time he will study the advanced methods of argument. "A thesis is a composition that argues some general point" (Crowley 420). A classic argument for a thesis is should a person marry? It's a generalization, not to be confused with a hypothesis, which is a specific argument such as, should the WWE drug test its performers when everyone knows many are dependent on steroids for their performance? As is status quo for a rhetor, students should be prepared to debate both sides of the issue. The final, most difficult of exercises is the introduction of law. This exercise is used to defend or attack existing laws According to Quintilian there are three issues up for argument, if the is law clearly written and consistent with itself, just and expedient and can it be enforced. This practice is still in use in law school today. Some issues to keep mind are the Apthonius considerations: Is it Constitutional? Does it offer justice, or rightness for all? Is it expedient? Does it fall into line or twist that which should not be twisted? What is the practicability of the law? (Crowley 424-5). If a law does not satisfy all these requirements then it should not be passed if still in proposal stage or amended if already passed. The senior student once done is ready to turn the tables and become the teacher.

A senior should "keep in contact with all your friends-- writers, editors, conference junkies, agents. If you find an excellent agent who's interested in you, it won't hurt to sign on. But be aware that the wrong agent is worse than none. You can sell a book without an agent. Keep writing! One day, a golden idea will smack you in the face. You'll realize that everything you've written until now was tripe, but now you have the goods. You'll write feverishly on that idea for a few months. You'll craft a stunning proposal. You'll show it around to your many friends. And somehow, from a direction you least expect -- probably an editor you've never met, who happens to be a lifelong friend of one of your lifelong friends -- you'll get a contract offer. It's different for every writer. It's the same for every writer. You'll be an author" (Ingermanson). The senior writer has mastered her craft. She has a great manuscript under consideration by an agent and/or editor. She will get that phone call of acceptance any day. She's also a mentor for the poor freshmen and sophomores who are wandering around confused, helping them sort through all the inevitable questions that come up each day. She's a font of information on what agent and publishing house would be a good target for your manuscript, and also gives invaluable feedback on your fumbling attempts at writing. It's definitely because of my mentor I am at sophomore status and on track to finish my novel. There's no feeling in the world like it and I can't wait to celebrate that day when I see Jen at the conference again next year.

The journey of a writer and rhetor is not an easy one. It requires years of study and practice to get to any level of proficiency. By doing the exercises above it is possible to learn new skills and maybe even start a whole new career, that of a rhetor or writer.

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