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?”

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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?

Symbolism: Give Something in Your Story a Deeper and Wider Meaning

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What Symbolism Is

As a literary device, symbolism gives an object a dual meaning. It imbues the object with ideas or qualities that are profound, far-reaching, and different from the object’s actual physical meaning.

Symbolism can enrich, provide a better understanding of the story, and show it has broader implications than itself.

A common example is a dove symbolizing peace.

Creating Symbolism in a Story

1.

Suppose Camellia wants to know who she is. She carries in her handbag the letter from her deceased grandmother, which reveals her parents’ names. She rereads the letter whenever she becomes discouraged in her search for her parents.

The letter becomes a symbol for the truth of her origin. It has profound meaning to Camellia. It also ties together the people she’ll interview and touch in some way during her search. It’s no longer only a letter.

2. 

You can have an object appear several times in your story to associate an emotion or mood. In my romance, Calculated Risk, sticky notes symbolize Cisney’s way of trying to manage chaos in her life.

One example is when she’s heard bad news and wants to leave Nick’s house. She writes the bus’s departure time on a sticky note and adheres it to her cell phone. Most people would’ve used Notes or some other reminder app in their cell.

Creating Symbolism in Context

A story symbol will be understood in the context of how you set it up. You may have an apple show up in scenes to symbolize knowledge.

For ages, people have associated an apple with the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden that, when eaten, revealed the knowledge of good and evil. For me, an apple left on a teacher’s desk or the apples on Apple devices also symbolize knowledge.

Or an apple in your story could symbolize a favored one as it did in the Old Testament when someone was “the apple of his eye.”

Attaching Symbolism to Something Other Than Objects

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Sometimes an action or an event can symbolize something. For example, saying, “I knew your Aunt Louise,” could let a fellow spy know others are safe to receive messages of national importance. In New Testament times when Christians were thrown to the lions, Christians drew a simple fish in the dust to subtly reveal they were Christians. These two actions symbolize revealing safe people.

Receiving Aid from Other Literary Devices

Other literary devices, such as a metaphors, similes, allegories, and allusions, can help create symbolism.

  • When a symbol has something in common with an idea or quality, a metaphor or simile can show this. Suppose Alec shudders every time he passes the roller coaster at the fair. Symbolism: The author has Alec pass the roller coaster when bad or good events happen in his life. Life is (or is like) a roller coaster. Both have ups and downs.
  • When Jesus’ parable of a prodigal son symbolizes a character’s life, this uses an allegory, or, if someone in the story mentions the character’s life is like the Prodigal Son’s, he employs an allusion.

Use symbolism to give your reader a better understanding of your story. Click to tweet.

What symbolism have you noticed in a story?