Allusion: A Literary Device Used in a Passing Comment

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What Allusion Is 

  • The word allusion comes from the Latin a playing with. Allusions play with a reference from another material source for use in a current writing.
  • An allusion is a literary device that makes a brief, passing reference to a real or imaginary place, person, thing, quote, or event found in such items as works of art, literature, folklore, mythologies, historical works, news stories, or religious manuscripts. It’s used in a cursory comment that the writer expects the reader to recognize and understand.
  • Many common allusions pop up from Greek Mythology or the Bible.

Common Examples of Allusion

   “Twenty dollars! Put the book back, Allison.” 
   Allison returned the book she’d wanted to buy for her grandmother to the shelf. “You’re such a Scrooge, Lane.”

Miser Scrooge from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is the reference.

image by falco

   Jackson ended the phone call, dropped his hoe in the garden, and headed for the house. “I’m taking Mrs. Santini to the doctor.”
   He didn’t like it, but we called him the Good Samaritan of the family.

The Good Samaritan references a parable Jesus told about a man from Samaria being the only passerby who helped a man who lay beaten and robbed on the side of the road.

   Angie opened the box and groaned. Alex knew doughnuts were her Achilles’ heel.

In Greek Mythology, Achilles’ mother dipped him into a river that had special powers to protect him from his foretold early death. But where she held him by his heel was unprotected, and Achilles died from a poisonous arrow shot into his heel—his weak spot.

Why Use Allusion 

  • Writers use allusions as a ready-made device to describe something or make a point without having to go into lengthy details.
  • Allusions can broaden the reader’s understanding of something— connecting emotions or thoughts already associated with the object or event in the allusion to the current object or situation.
  • Allusions can simplify complex ideas by boiling them down to a commonly accepted reference.

Caution in Using Allusions

  • Allusions depend on the reader’s familiarity with the thing or event referenced, especially from older works of literature. However, if a reader is curious to know the connection, he can easily turn to the Internet.
  • Allusions can become overused clichés such as the two below.
image by thfinch

A loose cannon.

Cannon’s breaking loose from their moorings on ships of yesteryears during battles or storms and causing damage to the ship or crew is the reference. The phrase often alludes to an out of control person.


It was a dark and stormy night.

The opening phrase of the 1830 novel, Paul Clifford, by Edward Bulwer-Lytton is the reference.

An allusion can make a thing or event easy to understand in few words. Click to tweet.

What’s a common allusion you’ve used in speech or writing?

50 Ideas for Author Newsletter Content

image by Maialisa
image by Maialisa

Enlist Outside Help

1.  Interview an author in your genre.

2.  Post readers’ contributions (reviews, a book-related how-to, or their takeaway from yours or other authors’ books).

Employ By-Products

3.  Share handouts from your speaking engagements.

4.  Include book research and photos.

image by Unsplash
image by Unsplash

Provide Your Perspective

5.  Discuss hobbies, places, or events you enjoy.

6.  Share helps that have made your life easier.

7.  Recount your experiences at book events.

8.  Give your thoughts about the writing industry.

9.  Introduce your team; provide short bios on your agent, editor, etc.

Help Subscribers Get to Know You

10.  Write fun facts about your writing process.

11.  Relate lessons you’ve learned from writing a book.

12.  Recount personal experiences that appeared in a book in some form.

13.  Give subscribers a slice of your life as a writer.

14.  Include a photo of your writing space.

15.  Share writing milestones: signing an agent, book contracts, book releases, book awards.

16.  Share life milestones: marriage, new baby, educational degrees (best to post only milestones for personal information).

17.  Add a specialty corner: writing tips, book-related recipes, historical facts, gardening tips—anything you have expertise in.

image by Comfreak
image by Comfreak

Pique Interest in Your Books

18.  Reveal a book cover design.

19.  Share the story behind the novel’s story.

20.  Tell what sparked book locations, plots, or characters.

21.  Report writing progress on novels.

22.  Provide a sample chapter or excerpts.

23.  Print a deleted scene.

24.  Note outside news or events related to topics in your book.

25.  Pass on endorsements, a quote, or a discussion about your book.

26.  Discuss social themes associated with your book.

27.  Display book trailers.

Highlight Your Characters

28.  Impart supplemental information about your characters.

29.  Add character photos.

30.  Hold character interviews—discuss issues your character faced.

31.  Enlist a character to host the newsletter post.

32.  Reveal the expanded backstory you used to develop a character.

image by geralt
image by geralt

Dazzle Subscribers

33.  Include images, artwork, and personal photos.

34.  Offer interesting quotes.

35.  Drop clues throughout the issue that’ll solve a puzzle.

Keep Subscribers Returning

36.  Offer installments of short stories or multiple aspects on the same subject.

37.  Involve subscribers in surveys.

Invite Subscribers to Your Events and Specials

38.  Announce book signings, speaking engagements, and other events with detailed attendance information.

39.  Direct subscribers to articles you’ve recently published.

40.  Alert subscribers to promotions, special pricing on your books, and when pre-ordering is available.

image by zimnijkot0
image by zimnijkot0

Become a Fellow Reader

41.  Feature book reviews of others’ books.

42.  Tell what you’re currently reading.

43.  List your favorite books.

44.  Ask what subscribers are reading.

45.  Request and publish subscribers’ nominations of the best book in your genre.


Give away Freebies

46.  Offer giveaways—yours or others’ books in your genre, gift cards, or book-related goodies.

47.  Create a contest.

Include Helps and Links

48.  Add a table of contents (lengthy newsletters).

49.  Insert links to blog, website, Amazon and Goodreads author pages, and reviews.

50.  Display social media links.

Try these 50 suggestions for author newsletter content. Click to tweet.

What have you used successfully in your newsletter?

7 Tips to Generate Blog Post Ideas

image by geralt
image by geralt

When we start a blog, we’re told we need to write about something we can sustain over time. Have you written so many blog posts it seems like you’ve covered everything in your field of interest?

I’m on my 206th how-to blog post, but I’m still able to find ideas for posts. Coming up with ideas may be less difficult for you who write journal-type blog posts, but these tips may help you too.

I write posts on writing, blogging, and speaking. You may write blogs on everything about horses, quilting, photography, or gardening. Whatever your field is, these tips should work for you.

Tips to Try


image by geralt
image by geralt

Tip 1: In the process of writing or building my platform, I schedule various tasks. When I’m looking for a post idea, I ask myself, “What am I working on now?” My answer is what is most beneficial for me to research and write a blog post on. Try asking yourself that question.

Here are examples of blog posts I’ve written from projects on which I was currently working.

How to:

  • have a successful book signing
  • fix an unlikeable character
  • write discussion questions for a novel
  • enlist endorsers/write an endorsement for another author
  • write a book based on blog posts
  • plot a story using the Hero’s Journey
  • give an editor a pitch for your story
  • present an engaging speech
  • add humor to your story
image by geralt
image by geralt

Tip 2: When I’m invited to teach writing workshops, I create posts on the content I’ve prepared for those events. If you teach, speak, or lead workshops in your field, your preparation work may provide enough content for multiple posts.


Tip 3: Sometimes I review past posts I’ve written. Often a different angle on a subject comes to mind. Rewrites incorporating something new are perfect for posts.

Tip 4: When I’m not working on something new, I peruse my issues of Writer’s Digest and my writing-craft books for blog ideas. Once I find a fresh idea, I research the subject further from articles online.

A benefit: you can apply the fresh idea to your work in your field. An example of how a post helped me improve my manuscript was: how to add suspense to any genre.

Tip 5: When I attend writers’ conferences, workshops usually inspire several ideas. Be alert to ideas at your next conference or interest-group meeting.

image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images
image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images

Tip 6: When I give back to others in my field, I receive ideas. For example, I judged 9 stories for a contest. I observed common areas of weak writing. I wrote a post on those. Also, my blog readers have asked me to cover certain subjects.

Tip 7: For me, I ask God to guide me. Then as I follow the above tips, I come across writing topics I want to know more about. After I research the ideas, I have fodder for posts.

Are you running out of blog post ideas? Try these 7 tips. Click to tweet.

How do you come up with blog post ideas?