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

Hint

Sentence #

Allusion

a passing reference

3

Amplification

add more information

14

Aphorism

true, short, and witty

45

Asyndeton

omission of conjunctions

11

Authorial Intrusion

author seeks relationship

11

Circumlocution

express in roundabout way

54-60

Diction

word choices

14, 15, 28, 46

Euphemism

less offensive expression

33

Faulty Parallelism

rebel in a series

22

Foil

opposing traits to protagonist

Sam

Foreshadowing

“clue” to the future

1

Hyperbaton

sentence order transposed

 29, 31

Imagery

creates strong mental pictures

10

Malapropism

sneaky lookalike

15, 18

Metonymy (Synecdoche)

things called by another name

4, 12

Personification

give things human traits

26

Symbolism

imbue things with deeper meaning

49

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?”

image by warner22brigette

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?

Imagery: Create Strong Mental Pictures for Your Reader

image by porco

What Imagery Is

Imagery is one of the strongest literary devices. A writer uses words and phrases to fashion mental images for readers. Imagery helps the reader to visualize more realistically objects, actions, and ideas. Imagery’s descriptive words can also involve the reader in the emotions and sensations of characters. The device appeals to our five senses to better imagine the world.

Often, imagery is built on other literary devices, such as metaphors, similes allusions, personifications, and onomatopoeia (words created to imitate sounds).

Let’s look at before-and-after examples.

Before:

“In case you didn’t know, Amy’s having an affair,” Grant said.

Sam looked shocked.

Grant way sorry for what he’d said erroneously in anger.

image by OpenClipart-Vectors

After:

Grant whirled around. “In case you didn’t know, Amy’s having an affair.”

Sam’s body reeled as if hunks of his world, his trust, hopes, and every emotion he held for Amy, were crashing to the garage’s concrete floor and shattering into unrecognizable shards.

Grant’s calf muscle’s tightened and begged to bolt. What had he done? He stepped back, his ankle striking a sharp edge of the lawn mower. Pain shot up his leg. Good. He deserved to hurt. How could he ever forgive himself for his Jezebel spirit toward his friend in the heat of a senseless argument? Especially, since what he’d said wasn’t true.

Hopefully the “after” example paints better images of both men, their surroundings, and their reactions.

Analysis:

  • Whirled is a descriptive verb for what some one would do when angry.
  • The description of Sam’s world falling apart is a simile.
  • Grant’s calf muscles begging to bolt is a personification.
  • Everyone knows the pain of knocking their ankle against something sharp (sense of touch).
  • Jezebel spirit is an allusion. This strong image references the evil of Jezebel in the Bible. Among many other traits, she lies, catches people off guard, and is vengeful.
  • Showing what’s going on inside Grant’s head allows the reader to share in the sensation of shock at what Grant did to Sam.

Why Imagery Is Important

Imagery helps the reader to envision the characters and scenes clearly. It makes the scene more vivid to the reader, replacing telling with graphic showing. It can also give prose a certain beauty and change clichéd writing into something fresh. Imagery can create the desired mood for a scene.

More Examples:

image by OnlyGirlOf10

Before:

I heard the bacon in the frying pan, and it smelled great.

After:

The bacon popped and crackled in Dad’s frying pan, and oh, the aroma. My mouth watered. 

<<>>

 


Before:

The concert was loud.

After:

The deafening concert had my ears ringing for days.

 <<>>

image by OpenClipart-Vectors

Before:

He continued toward the castle in the early evening when the full moon was up.

After:

Soon after dusk, the wind picked up, and the waving pine boughs beckoned him to continue toward the castle silhouetted against the moon, the gold medallion commandeering a third of the sky.

Use imagery to give your reader vivid pictures that bring them into your story. Click to tweet.

When do you create imagery—as you write or when you edit?