Category Archives: Literary devices

Exercises and explanations for using common literary devices

How do you end an never-ending story?

Stories do not always require a flesh and blood antagonist, or even a spectral one. They do not have to end with the discovery of who perpetrated the crime or the demise of the villain. A plot can trace the … Continue reading

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What is the bad guy really thinking?

Do you recall the campy original Batman series in which the villain de jour always explained his detailed plan for the crime as Batman was slowly moving towards a not so sure death? Is there a problem with adding the villain’s … Continue reading

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Ancient Name Dropping

In the George Lucas’ film The Empire Strikes Back, the furry Wookiee, Chewbacca, holds the head of robot C-3PO in the same way that Hamlet is usually shown holding a skull. Many people assume that Hamlet recited his fateful soliloquy … Continue reading

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The foundation of world building

As a child, the stories that fascinated me the most were set in other lands. As an adult, reading passages that describe an unknown world still intrigues me. Simply throwing me into a story without a describing the setting leaves … Continue reading

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The art of world building

I wanted to vacation on the banks of the San Antonio River as it meandered through the center of town. The river that had once created messy floods was now encased by sidewalk with a sprinkling of shaggy bald cypress … Continue reading

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Writing the right-hand man (or woman)

Most protagonists are not complete loners. Interactions with a sidekick, best buddy or groups of friends typically make up a good portion of the story. Creating the peers of the main character may actually take more thought than creating the main character. … Continue reading

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Literary devices and charisma

“Edwin Escobar Luz” by Herbert Rouge – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons – Most people determine a leader’s charisma using nonverbal characteristics, such as conveying emotional states, demonstrating passions through gestures and compelling use of … Continue reading

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When characters collide

Consider the possible basic conflicts in fiction:  man against environment, man against man, man against society, and man against self.  In most plots the conflicts are between people.  Even in Robinson Caruso and Castaway, tales of man surviving in isolation, … Continue reading

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What makes a character, a character?

Recently I was following a thread of writers discussing how to find names that make characters memorable.  Honestly I believe that writers should be looking at the reverse situation.  It is the skillful creation of a character whose strengths and … Continue reading

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Physiological writing

What exactly are physiological reactions? Imagine you are a young teenage girl. You are waiting in the math hall, and that handsome senior with an air of indifferent confidence strolls past you on the way to calculus. Normally you are … Continue reading

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