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?

Hyperbatons – A Word Reversal Device That Gets Attention

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Hyperbaton is a literary device in which words, phrases, and clauses are transposed from their usual order in a sentence. However, the unfamiliar order retains the gist of the message.

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These word reversals can be used in dialogue or internal dialogue when a character wants to emphasize his message or add a little drama. For example, “A juggling yellow jacket I must see.” The usual arrangement, “I must see a juggling yellow jacket,” doesn’t have the punch.

Because hyperbatons interrupt the natural flow of sentences and can be confusing, novel writers might want to sprinkle them into their stories only occasionally.

In the following sentence pairs, decide what the sentence with the hyperbaton emphasizes that the second does not. In the first example, I think a good chef is accentuated more in the first sentence than the second. The sentence is talking more about a good chef than about the cake.


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Laura rolled her eyes. “One successful cake does not a good chef make.” (One successful cake does not make a good chef.)

Carter watched Lily retreat. Her skirt and ponytail swayed in harmony. Was there no mercy? Love struck he was. (He was love struck.)

Julie worked with persistence unstoppable. (Julie worked with unstoppable persistence.)

Until his last breath, he wouldn’t, of such a deplorable conspiracy, be part. (Until his last breath, he wouldn’t be part of such a deplorable conspiracy.)

Every ache and pain known to wrestlers he suffered. (He suffered every ache and pain known to wrestlers.)

“Stupid … ugly … and incompetent you’ve made me feel.” (You’ve made me feel stupid … ugly … and incompetent.”)

Only chaos I saw around me. (I saw only chaos around me.)

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“A knife to the heart is unrequited love.” (“Unrequited love is a knife to the heart.”)

“Alone, I’ve traversed the continent.” (“I’ve traversed the continent alone.”)

“This woman you love?” (“You love this woman?”)
“Right, you are.” (“You’re right.”)

“Into this, dear cousin, you dragged me.” (“Dear cousin, you dragged me into this.”)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” (Bible, John 14:27) (“I leave you with my peace; I give you peace.”)

Employ hyperbatons in sentences; the word reversals can emphasize words. Click to tweet.

What hyperbaton do you use in your everyday conversations?