Come Play a Game About Literary Devices!

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I’ve finished a series on literary devices. (One is more a problem than a supportive device.) As a review, I list the devices, definition hints, and the sentence number(s) of where they show up in my scene below. I invite you to ignore my answers and try to spot the examples(s) for each device. If you want to know more about a device, click on the device’s name to go to my post about it.

Literary Device


Sentence #


a passing reference



add more information



true, short, and witty



omission of conjunctions


Authorial Intrusion

author seeks relationship



express in roundabout way



word choices

14, 15, 28, 46


less offensive expression


Faulty Parallelism

rebel in a series



opposing traits to protagonist



“clue” to the future



sentence order transposed

 29, 31


creates strong mental pictures



sneaky lookalike

15, 18

Metonymy (Synecdoche)

things called by another name

4, 12


give things human traits



imbue things with deeper meaning


1Sam leaned against the bus stop pole and slid a piece of paper into his pocket. 2“Here comes Jocelyn. 3Time to don my Superman cape.” 4He flexed his pecs, expanding his T-shirt sporting the word STUD.

5On the bench, Grayson didn’t move. 6No way would he check behind him and let Sam blast him with another “gotcha,” especially when it had to do with Jocelyn.

7Sam’s eyes lit up and he turned on his I’m-your-man smile.

8The guy was telling the truth.

9Grayson turned his head until he could sneak a glance at Jocelyn. 10Her brunette ponytail swished as her pink tennis shoes slapped the sidewalk’s incline. 11You know the type, young, pretty, a fresh look of innocence. 12Grayson’s pumper skipped a beat.

13“I don’t think the cape’s going to help,” he said. “14In case you haven’t noticed, we’re loitering at a bus stop.”

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15 “Is your point that bus stops are for suave octogonians to pick up old women with oxygen tanks? Not for macho guys like me?”

16Grayson rolled his eyes then checked Jocelyn’s progress toward them. 17“For once, can you act normal?”

18“I’m no wolf in cheap clothing. 19I can’t help it I’m a friendly”—he pointed at the word on his shirt—“stud.”

20Had Jocelyn read his note? 21Grayson wiped the sweat beading his forehead. 22She didn’t look particularly happy, bummed, or had a frightened expression. 23Why had he asked her out in a note? 24How lame was that?

25“Hi, guys.” Jocelyn flashed them her full-lipped smile. See nodded at the bus stop sign. 26“Sam, is your clunker Camaro sick?”

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27“Clunker? 28Honey, that ride is a classic in her prime.”

29“So you say.” 30She turned to Grayson.

31Here it came. 32He braced for the shoot-down.

33I heard your dog passed away, Grayson. 34I’m sorry.”

35So was he, but what about the note? 36The date?

37Sam tugged out the piece of paper he’d pocketed.

38Grayson did a double take. 39That was the paper he’d scrawled his dumb note on. 40Sam had taken it off Jocelyn’s door? 41The slimeball. 42But wait. 43She hadn’t seen it. 44He let out a breath. 45Sometimes a buddy in greed was buddy indeed.

46“Well, lookie here.” 47Sam dangled the paper.

48Grayson stood, blood draining from his head. “Sam!” 49He eyed the note threatening his doom. 50Don’t. 51I mean it.”

52Jocelyn’s forehead wrinkled as Sam laughed.

53Sam waved the paper. “54I decided to ask you out, but when I got to your house what should I see on your door? 55It wasn’t a foreclosure notice. 56No. 57It wasn’t a bill collector’s letter. 58No. 59It wasn’t an offer for low-cost Internet service. 60N—“

61Grayson lunged and grabbed for the note. 62Sam yanked it out of his reach, guffawing. “63No, it was a note from Grayson asking you out. 64How uncool is that?”

65Jocelyn stared at Sam then turned to Grayson. 66“Sounds sweet to me.”

 See if you can spot seventeen literary devices in a short scene. Click to tweet.

What is your favorite literary device? Why?

9 Techniques to Foreshadow a Truth or Event

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Well done foreshadowing won’t ruin the surprise. The device adds suspense and tension to the story, building anticipation for the reader. Foreshadowing can help readers understand what happens later. Everything finally makes sense. Thus, it can facilitate the believability of later truths or events.

Foreshadowing can be subtle or direct. Sometimes it’s a clue at the beginning of a story to denote the theme.

Foreshadowing Elements and Examples of the Techniques


  1. An event early in the story that’s similar to a later event.

A mother furiously knits her three-year-old son a sweater, ignoring mistakes, and making him wear the lopsided, unraveling garment. His haphazard upbringing by his controlling mother unfolds.

  1. A passing comment or action.

Jess sits on the porch, watching the Johnsons leave for work. Their teenage son bounds down the front steps, gives a little wave to his house, and walks to school. Days later after the Johnsons have gone, Jess sees a light go on in their basement and calls the police. The son has harbored a runaway teenage girl.

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  1. A situation that only makes sense later.

Shortly before his death, Grandfather gives his 8-year-old granddaughter a book on aerodynamics, telling her to read it for the mystery. Years later, before she tosses the book, she looks for a mystery one last time and discovers a code that leads to a fortune.

  1. Flashes of suppressed memories.

In Candice’s flashbacks, lightning flashes reveal a man digging in a field. Later, she makes a long overdue visit to her terminally ill mother. Candice has a panic attack when her childhood window’s view is the field in her flashbacks and a tree grows where the man was digging.

  1. Changes in mood.

Ever since Angie came up behind Brad and hugged him as he read a newspaper article about a missing girl, she’s barely spoken. She sits with their toddler and stares at cartoons. Later, the police come to question Angie about the missing girl from the school where Angie teaches.

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6. A prophecy.

A homeless man approaches Sallie and says, “The children need your strength and faith.” The man’s words haunt her. She becomes more involved in her church and faith. Later, she chaperones teens on a mission trip to a foreign orphanage. The area floods. She and the teens lead fifty children to higher ground.

  1. Direct information.

Headstrong Zina receives an anonymous note. DON’T GO TO WORK THURSDAY. All week, she alternates between anger and fear. Thursday, she calls in sick, then refuses to let the note control her. Driving in an hour late, she sees the building suddenly blow sky high.


image by Christopher Pluta
  1. Changes in the weather.

Ann steps out onto the deck and leaves the door ajar to hear the baby. The wind whips up and blows a gnarled dead leaf up from the deck and through the door’s opening. Later, the baby is gone.


  1. An object a character subtly reacts to.

Oddly, a tiny twig protrudes from Mama’s bracelet lying next to the sink, where she leaves it to wash dishes. Later, Mama’s body is found in the woods.

9 techniques to foreshadow truths and events in your story. Click to tweet.

Any other ways to foreshadow a later event?