Category Archives: Literary devices

Exercises and explanations for using common literary devices

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

Posted in Literary devices, Writer's resource | Leave a comment

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

Posted in communication, Leadership, Literary devices, Manipulation, Persuasion | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Creativity, Literary devices, Writer's resource | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Creativity, Fiction in education, Literary devices, Writer's resource | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Literary devices, Teaching writing skills, Writer's resource | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Unknown, unnerving

While watching a military movie, that was unexpectedly full of death in gory detail (i.e. multiple flying body parts) my mind decided I had seen enough gruesomeness I started laughing. Unable to squelch the giggles, I told my husband that I … Continue reading

Posted in Literary devices, Teaching writing skills, Writer's resource | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Allusions and airs

Allusions are the literary equivalent of name-dropping. Imagine you are discussing the current government shut-down with a friend. You mention a insight you learned about behind-the-scenes working of government in our capitol, and briefly mention that when George Bush explained … Continue reading

Posted in Literary devices, Literature, Writer's resource | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Figures of seeing

Reading ancient literature is difficult not just because of archaic words, but also ambiguous figures of speech that attempted to help the reader see the image and not just hear the words. Translate an early English text, such as Beowulf … Continue reading

Posted in Literary devices, Literature, Writer's resource | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to play the words well

Do a little bit of research on the internet and you will soon come up with vast lists of literary devices in addition to the ones that I have discussed. But it is too overwhelming to start employing them all. … Continue reading

Posted in Literary devices, Teaching writing skills, Writer's resource | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Wilde words

Sometime in the eighties I noticed a shift in the focus of television sitcoms – the humorous situation was gradually being replaced by humorous banter. Witty retorts were more important than amusing events. In fact, often the events would be … Continue reading

Posted in Literary devices, Literature, Writer's resource | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment