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Literary Devices...Or The Lack Of Them


Superpride

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Hello, everyone!  I just want to ask a simple question about literary devices for both authors and readers.  For authors, do you often add literally devices like similes, metaphors, diction and syntax to your writing and do you add them without thinking or do you consciously have to remind yourself to included these literary devices into your story?  And for readers, do you notice when a story has little to no literary devices and does it seem bland to read or are there other qualities to the story that make you keep reading to the end?  if so, describe them.

 

The reason I ask this question is because I am currently thinking about whether my writing right now is flavorful enough to keep readers interested in continuing my stories and coming back with enthusiasm whenever a new chapter is posted.  I also wonder if other authors here have the same thoughts as me, and whether they have solutions or comments to my concerns.  I do believe my stories are moderately successful, but I always have my doubts.  I know it might sound silly, but I would really love to know all of your opinions on the subject.

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i think i've used them all at one point or another. i don't consciously do so i don't think.  I think my fav was: i rattled around the house like a loose screw in a dryer.  Personally i think you need to write how you feel, too many of these devices is not a good idea, but a sprinkle makes things interesting.  I'm not sure if i've ever read anything of yours. I'd be happy to look at something if you'd like.

 

tim

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17 minutes ago, Mikiesboy said:

i think i've used them all at one point or another. i don't consciously do so i don't think.  I think my fav was: i rattled around the house like a loose screw in a dryer.  Personally i think you need to write how you feel, too many of these devices is not a good idea, but a sprinkle makes things interesting.  I'm not sure if i've ever read anything of yours. I'd be happy to look at something if you'd like.

 

tim

 

I'd appreciate that very much!  And thank you for your post.  I do agree that too many literary devices is not a good idea, making a story possibly too confusing to read.  So a balance is definitely the way to go.

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14 minutes ago, Superpride said:

Hello, everyone!  I just want to ask a simple question about literary devices for both authors and readers.  For authors, do you often add literally devices like similes, metaphors, diction and syntax to your writing and do you add them without thinking or do you consciously have to remind yourself to included these literary devices into your story?  And for readers, do you notice when a story has little to no literary devices and does it seem bland to read or are there other qualities to the story that make you keep reading to the end?  if so, describe them.

 

The reason I ask this question is because I am currently thinking about whether my writing right now is flavorful enough to keep readers interested in continuing my stories and coming back with enthusiasm whenever a new chapter is posted.  I also wonder if other authors here have the same thoughts as me, and whether they have solutions or comments to my concerns.  I do believe my stories are moderately successful, but I always have my doubts.  I know it might sound silly, but I would really love to know all of your opinions on the subject.

Literary devices are the seasoning that makes otherwise bland writing vibrant and interesting.  For example:  I made prime rib for dinner.  or My mouth watered as the aroma of the garlic, rosemary, and pepper crust coating the dripping prime rib roast blasted me in a wave of heat after I opened the oven door to check if it was done. 

The first example makes me think "I like prime rib.".  The second example makes me want to go to the store and buy all the ingredients and make one right now!  So literary devices enrich the reader's experience, hopefully evoking an emotional response or at the least, drawing them further into the story.  

While literary devices are an important piece, they should be used in conjunction with strong characters, plot, and world-building.  A story needs a good foundation, otherwise no amount of flowery writing will cover it up.  

I use literary devices such as metaphors and similes in my own writing, but I would say they are more part of my style vs. a conscious effort on my part to include such things.  And FYI... syntax isn't a literary device.  It refers to the use of language -- "the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences" -- and goes hand in hand with grammar.  I hope this helps :) 

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4 minutes ago, Valkyrie said:

Literary devices are the seasoning that makes otherwise bland writing vibrant and interesting.  For example:  I made prime rib for dinner.  or My mouth watered as the aroma of the garlic, rosemary, and pepper crust coating the dripping prime rib roast blasted me in a wave of heat after I opened the oven door to check if it was done. 

The first example makes me think "I like prime rib.".  The second example makes me want to go to the store and buy all the ingredients and make one right now!  So literary devices enrich the reader's experience, hopefully evoking an emotional response or at the least, drawing them further into the story.  

While literary devices are an important piece, they should be used in conjunction with strong characters, plot, and world-building.  A story needs a good foundation, otherwise no amount of flowery writing will cover it up.  

I use literary devices such as metaphors and similes in my own writing, but I would say they are more part of my style vs. a conscious effort on my part to include such things.  And FYI... syntax isn't a literary device.  It refers to the use of language -- "the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences" -- and goes hand in hand with grammar.  I hope this helps :) 

 

Thank you for your post!  I like when you said that a story needs a good foundation for literary devices to work properly, otherwise it would be like a poop with sprinkles and other toppings.  It looks pretty, but it's still poop.

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I often use those devices to tag speech. The use of he said/she said has always bored me. That approach is also not as favored these days when compared to action tags.

 

"I really hate you, you know?" Carlos said.

"I really hate you, you know?" Carlos' smile made me think he was pulling my chain.

 

In both instances, we know what was said. But in the second one, we find out it may have been said jokingly which may help make the conversation a bit more realistic.

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I do have to consciously remember to include stuff like metaphors and similes. Otherwise, my writing gets stripped down to, "he did this, then he did this, then he did this." 😅

 

I also try to remember to use all the senses. What does a room look like? Smell like? Temperature? etc. It helps paint a picture and makes the reader feel like they're actually in the room with the character. 

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On ‎5‎/‎20‎/‎2018 at 5:15 PM, Carlos Hazday said:

I often use those devices to tag speech. The use of he said/she said has always bored me. That approach is also not as favored these days when compared to action tags.

 

"I really hate you, you know?" Carlos said.

"I really hate you, you know?" Carlos' smile made me think he was pulling my chain.

 

In both instances, we know what was said. But in the second one, we find out it may have been said jokingly which may help make the conversation a bit more realistic.

 

I like using speech tags since they help convey what the characters are saying and how they are saying it.  Your example is a perfect because the first line is very ambiguous about what Carlos meant when he said that.  However, the second line clearly shows that the character is only kidding.  I'm trying to reduce the number of speech tags; though, since too many could disrupt the flow of a conversation and overall be too wordy in my opinion.

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20 hours ago, Hudson Bartholomew said:

I do have to consciously remember to include stuff like metaphors and similes. Otherwise, my writing gets stripped down to, "he did this, then he did this, then he did this." 😅

 

I also try to remember to use all the senses. What does a room look like? Smell like? Temperature? etc. It helps paint a picture and makes the reader feel like they're actually in the room with the character. 

 

Yeah, I didn't think about using all five senses to convey to the reader what the character(s) are experiencing during that moment until I read your post.  And thank you for saying that you have to remind yourself to include things like similes or metaphors because I have come across that dilemma as well.

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I know I use speech tags a lot like Carlos said.  I know I've read a lot about adding more than just 'he said' is too much, but I can't get away from describing how it was said.  If/when I use similes or metaphors, I think it's more unconscious than planned as well.  I know I'm bad about describing the setting and often have to go back and add in more of that, usually I try to describe it as part of the characters actions to hopefully make it more interesting.

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7 hours ago, craftingmom said:

I know I use speech tags a lot like Carlos said.  I know I've read a lot about adding more than just 'he said' is too much, but I can't get away from describing how it was said.  If/when I use similes or metaphors, I think it's more unconscious than planned as well.  I know I'm bad about describing the setting and often have to go back and add in more of that, usually I try to describe it as part of the characters actions to hopefully make it more interesting.

 

I like the idea of describing the setting by including it with the character's actions, like describing a character looking at the downtown area of the city through the tall windows as he pondered his life decisions.  I like that better than just saying there are tall windows since it doesn't really serve a purpose unlike the pervious line.

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