Category Archives: Literary devices

Exercises and explanations for using common literary devices

Does being well-read help you write?

Despite the flood of self-published books, there are still agents searching the field of writers attempting to discover the next best-selling author. I read a long list of short blurbs written by these agents describing what they required of those … Continue reading

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In praise of the passive hero

Don’t create a main character who just is passive, watching the other characters without taking charge or getting things done. Also, don’t read books by two of the most famous American authors Herman Melville and F. Scott Fitzgerald because they … Continue reading

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The key to polite introductions

The first chapter described a woman, now alone, returning to a memory-loaded place. As I read I could easily absorb the environment and still have the mental capacity to consider her conflicted feelings. Would her journey bring healing or more … Continue reading

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The three little worlds

The places of the imagination must have some semblance to earth, or we are confused by the nonsense as we try to take in an alternate world. Usually there is one difference—one factor that is altered to set the ball … Continue reading

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What is the opposite of steam punk?

World building can be a challenge. Advice from someone well-versed in geology, history, or sociology will help when designing world differing from the one we inhabit. My desire was to create an alternate world in which civilization was advanced as … Continue reading

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Charming characters can’t be trusted

The character with charm, with the twinkle in the eye, who speaks noble words with the perfect voice, who makes the impassioned plea to turn the crowd around– the character with all the traits of charisma that we desire—that character … Continue reading

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Present tense prose

Since the popularity of The Hunger Game series and the awards won by All the Light We Cannot See, a trend is fiction is the use of present tense. This style is touted as making the character’s actions more intimate … Continue reading

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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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