The Wacky World of Literary Devices!

You Have Now Entered the Wacky World of Literary Devices.

For the grand prize you have 60 seconds to answer the following…

(Disclaimer – This is just a joke folks)

What is Hyperbole and name one famous story that makes use of it?

Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock…

You learn forward, grab the microphone, your eyes stare unflinchingly into the crowd as you say –

Hyperbole is the use of over-exaggeration for creating emphasis, or humor, but it is not intended to be taken literally. One example of this story telling technique would be, The Tales of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

the wacky world of literary devices

Photograph by The Arches

Yeah! Excellent Answer!

This idea of looking into literary devices came to me the other day when a companion asked me how to spell allegory. I spelled it out for her flawlessly. But the next question was the one I was dreading…

“What does allegory mean?”

Ummm… ummm…

I didn’t know what it meant.

She giggled at me. “And you’re a writer?”

the wacky world of literary devices

Graphic courtesy of myteachingspirit.blogspot.com

Well that was enough to make me go look it up. But, I would have done that anyway, because I am an extremely inquisitive person, and I love to learn. So, for those of you that don’t know what the literary device, allegory, means –

Here you go!

An allegory is a symbolism device where the meaning of a greater, often abstract, concept is conveyed with the aid of a more corporeal object or idea being used as an example. One famous example of allegory is the book, The Lord of the Flies. This story features a group of schoolboys stuck on an island, and the novel had allegorical representations of rational mind, democracy, order, civility, and many other such abstract terms.

the wacky world of Literary devices

Cover photograph by lordalford.com

I’ll be the first to admit it to anybody. I didn’t go to college for writing. I was born into a working class family. I’ve learned what I’ve managed to learn in life through dedication and hard work.

Many of the literary devices were familiar to me by word, but I didn’t really understand what they meant until I dove into this investigation. I was amazed at how many literary devices exist. There are dozens of them! Just reading through the list and their descriptions got my creative juices flowing.

I want to share some examples

along with their definitions

And some literary works that made use of them

Bildungsroman – This is a very popular form of storytelling whereby the author bases the plot on the overall growth of the central character throughout the timeline of the story. As the story progresses, the subject undergoes noticeable mental, physical, social, emotional, moral, and often spiritual advancement. A very famous example of this literary device is, Gone With The Wind, which was published by Margaret Mitchell in 1936.

the wacky world of literary devices

Photograph by stuffforcrafts.com

Litotes – It is an understated expression where the idea to be expressed is quite significant. Litotes, are defined as ‘an ironical understatement where the affirmative is expressed by the negation of the opposite’. To put it simply, in litotes, instead of saying that something is attractive, you say that it is not unattractive. Litotes are often used to mimic speech, since we lazy humans tend to drop words to make things quicker. Here are some examples:

  • The food is not bad.
  • She is not as young as she was.
  • He is not unlike his dad
Father & Son

He is not unlike his dad. Photograph by Tony Alter

Hubris – Hubris is another way of saying overly arrogant. You can tell the difference between hubris and regular arrogance by the suggestion that the character has seemed to allow reality slip away from them. Hubris is the buildup of arrogance and pride and is generally followed by a catastrophic fall at the end of the story. An excellent example of Hubris is the story, Arabian Nights.

Caesura – involves creating a fracture within a sentence where the two separate parts are distinguishable from one another yet intrinsically linked to one another. The purpose of using a caesura is to create a dramatic pause, which has a strong impact. Finding out about this device means a lot to me personally, because I use this a lot. Here is an example of Caesura; “Ludwig – How your music makes me soar!”

the wacky world of literary devices

Photograph courtesy of parentpreviews.com

Polysyndeton – is a sentence construction in which multiple conjunctions are used in very close succession to infuse a sense of exaggeration. In other words, you use a lot of ‘ands’ to emphasize a point by stretching the sentence out. Here is a great example from Ian Fleming‘s novel, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang:

‘Most motor-cars are conglomerations of steel and wire and rubber and plastic, and electricity and oil and petrol and water, and the toffee papers you pushed down the crack in the back seat last Sunday.’

I’ve had a lot of fun studying up on literary devices

And I bet you would too!

Here’s a challenge for you. I’m going to list some literary devices that I’m pretty sure you’ve heard the term. Could you define that term? Could you point to an example that uses the device? Do you use it in your own writing? Might you consider doing that now, after reading this article?

Here you go-

  1. Allusion
  2. Antithesis
  3. Cacophony
  4. Deus ex Machina
  5. oxymoron
  6. simile
  7. syntax
  8. verisimilitude
  9. juxtaposition
  10. epithet

There will be a test on Tuesday.

(Just kidding!)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion. I would also like to encourage you to comment. Tell me if there is any subject matter that you would like me to weigh in on. (what literary device was that?) Keep writing friends!

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “Unexplained Mysteries of World War II”, by William B. Breuer

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

(Insert Witty Title Here)

Cassandra Janey

Me

Hi!

You might be asking yourself, who are you and why you are posting here? I can’t blame you for wondering.

First, about me. I am Cassandra, a new blogger here at Novelnook.

Here’s a lovely B&W photo of me – because I’m so pale, I am invisible in color photos:

I love to write and I am an aspiring author. I have a personal online blog that I scribble in with my writings and stories. I absolutely plan to finish at least one but I have ‘shiny object syndrome’ and often get distracted by a million things…

I did finish a story for NaNoWriMo but I deleted about 10,000 words of my story after it was over because I rushed to finish. It wasn’t bad. I’m just a perfectionist. It took me over 12 hours to write this post and I still feel awkward.

When I was a girl, I actually wrote a story and submitted it to a publisher.  It was a horrible story (truly, it was!) and my story returned to me, denied outright. However, that didn’t stop me from wanting to write. It is something I have always loved, although sometimes it takes a bit for me to get those words down on paper! I have several stories in the works but really just have to get around to finishing them.

Yeah, I’m pretty horrible at these about me things. I’m sure you can tell. Moving on!

Spending a lot of my time online, I stumble onto sites when I’m just looking through things. Novelnook was one of those things I stumbled upon.  I am pretty sure that I found it through Twitter. Twitter is a dream for a person with ADHD.

Finding Novelnook was pretty great. At first, I was just going to use it to buy books because I am an avid reader and love finding new authors to read.  But when I read that it was 100% author royalties, I found that a rather fantastic bonus. I had considered submitting my first novel to another publisher – one I read often because they house some of my favorite authors – but then I read something on Novelnook’s site that changed my mind.

I know that when I want to buy books, sometimes I can’t because of the cost. I love that I can buy a book for $2.99 or $3.99 and the author receives all of that amount – and the book is at a price I can afford. We both win and I can support an author I love even more than I ever could before.

I feel that Novelnook gives people who love to write the opportunity to put their book out there – a chance they may not have had otherwise with a regular publisher due to many factors out of their control. Not to mention, the person has total control over their story being published on Novelnook and is free to post it elsewhere. Novelnook is definintely “for the author” and while it does offer services you have to pay for, you are under no obligation to do so.

So to sum up, I’m a new blogger here, this is why I like Novelnook and I am now blogging for them.  I hope I have shown you why you should give Novelnook a chance to help you publish your novel.  You will find more posts by me here in the near future and I hope I make you laugh.  Even if you laugh at me, that’s okay, because I hope you will love Novelnook as much as I do… and then it won’t matter.