by Jordan Jolley
Literary devices are the paintbrush. The story is the painting.
We’ve all been taught this ever since we learned how to read. Letters build words. Words build stories. Most of us have also been taught how to make our writing come to life, how to add texture and all that. From my personal style of writing and the ways other authors write, this is very important to know. And it’s not just because we need to add literary devices everywhere.
It’s just as important to keep an eye on your similes, metaphors, personifications, etc. so your writing doesn’t become distracting. This is especially true to fantasy/sci-fi writers, since these genres work so well with literary devices. But this can apply with any genre. It’s easy to get lost in how to describe your setting rather than the story.
I like to compare literary devices to salt and the story to a slice of bitter fruit. (here’s a metaphor here) The right amount of salt can really bring out the flavor of the fruit. But you may know what happens when you add too much salt. It’s even worse than adding no salt at all. You don’t taste the natural flavor of the fruit, you just get a terrible taste on your tongue that you want to wash out immediately. It’s the same for your story. Using literary devices can give flavor to it. But if you use too many literary devices, the story is no longer as flavorful to read.
As I have said, fantasy and sci-fi stories tend to use literary devices more often. This is for good reason. When done right, your literary devices can really bring your enchanting world to life. If not, you may sound like someone who is putting more focus on expressing the paintbrush rather than the painting. (oh great, another metaphor)
So there you have it. I hope you are not thinking that I dislike literary devices. Being an author of fantasy myself, I love adding similes and other things to give The Tales of Draco some flavor. It’s okay to add literary devices, no matter what genre you are into. Just remember to use these literary devices as the paintbrush to create your painting.
Alternately titled Words Can Be Art.
Guest post contributed by Jordan Jolley . Since he was a student in Elementary School, Jordan has devoted much of his time to writing. Though still young, he continues to prepare himself for a long yet adventurous journey in writing. He currently lives in Dayton, Idaho where he is creating the next chapter of The Tales of Draco series.