Back to Basics Part II: More Literary Devices - Dorrance Publishing Company

Back to Basics Part II: More Literary Devices

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote a blog that covered some of the basics of writing, including a refresher course of sorts on some helpful literary devices and how to use them.

Today, we want to expand on that topic and offer five more stylistic devices that can help you write your story in a way that readers can relate. Sometimes, the real challenge of writing is making your point known to the reader and relaying the emotions that are being told through your words. Different literary devices read more naturally than others, depending on the setting and tone of your book.

Below are five more literary devices to consider using as tools to help you relate to your readers and to engage them in the emotions, ideas and experiences of your book. Read through and consider if any of these might be the right fit for your story.

Characterization  If you guessed that this literary device has something to do with characters, you’re on the right track! Characterization shines a light on the details of a character in a story. This device is used when an author introduces a character, and from that point expounds upon his or her behavior and thought processes.

In essence, characterization allows the reader to be an integral part of the evolution of a character throughout the progression of the story. Readers are able to see into their thoughts, actions and interactions with other characters.

Dialect  From the Wild, Wild West to the turn of the century, each of these time periods for example, have a specific style of speech, which is called dialect. Spelling, grammar, sounds and pronunciation are all components of dialect, and they are what distinguish a group of people in a specific class and area from another. Dialect is a powerful tool to use for characterization, because it can highlight the geographic and social background of a character.

Transition  If you’ve ever heard of the phrase, “transition period,” you know that it means moving from one thing to another. This idea also applies to transitions in writing, where they are carried out through the words and phrases that connect ideas, sentences and paragraphs.  Another useful aspect of transitions is that they help with the flow of your story, because they can mesh disconnected ideas together so that the reader won’t get lost. Consistency and concise writing are important, and transitions help by providing a logical connection between ideas.

Here are some examples of commonly used transitions: in fact, in addition, indeed, cause, effect, and in comparison.

Ellipsis When reading, have you ever seen “…” and wondered what that means? Those three periods are better known as an ellipsis and are commonly used between sentences. This literary device is mostly used in narratives in order to skip certain parts of a sentence, which gives the reader the opportunity to fill in the gaps by using their imagination while reading.

Flashback  This type of interruption is often welcomed when adding depth to a story line. Flashbacks are used by writers to infuse past events into their story to provide context or background to what is currently going on in the book. Often times, flashbacks are carried out through dream sequences and memories. Using flashbacks in your story is a good way to shed light on the backstory of a current conflict, or to add more complexity to a character’s presence in the story.

As they say, “knowledge is power,” and learning about new writing techniques, in particular the powerful tool of literary devices, can help an author enhance his or her writing skills in a way that appeals to the reader. Play around with a few and see where they can take your writing!

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