Saturday, April 6, 2013
Figures of Speech
Figures of Speech - like metaphors - can be useful in your writing, but not when they pull you out of the story. A main goal in fiction writing is to suspend all disbelief. So ... if your beautiful metaphor comes in the middle of scene with forward momentum, the reader might stop and notice the wires controlling the puppets. Don't give the reader any reason to stop reading your story!
"Yet just when it's most important that we focus on events, we're pulled aside to notice the writer's poetic turn of mind. And like exclamation points or italics, phrases that call attention to themselves rather than to what's being said make it obvious that you're working hard for your effects" (SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS, p. 204).
What's your favorite figure of speech? And when do you think is the best time to utilize it in your writing?
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The suspension of disbelief is one of the most subtle and tricky parts of writing, isn't it?ReplyDelete
That's a good question! I'm not sure what my favorite is. I'll have to think about it!ReplyDelete
Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines
I'm not sure I have a favorite figure of speech. At least, nothing comes to mind. I might see one and have it hit me that I really like it.ReplyDelete
I love figures of speech in poetry but you are right sometimes they can be really off-putting in fiction. When used correctly they enhance what you are reading though - just wish I knew what that correct use was - I'm still at the I know it when I see it stage but can't think of one off the top of my head.ReplyDelete
I wonder if they are appreciated more in a re-read when you maybe aren't quite so swept up?
Thanks for the interesting post.
Great blog! Thanks for sharing your tips.ReplyDelete
Have fun with a-z.
This is why the subtle metaphor works better than a jolting simile. I can get lost in a comparison just as I can in any plot point. I like connections, and the metaphor reaches deeper than another point of action.ReplyDelete
Figures of speech can be really fun when they're creative and original. Have you ever noticed how children do this so easily? I love a book when I come across clever figures of speech.ReplyDelete
Not sure. I love reading metaphor, but not easy for me.ReplyDelete
This is a wonderful theme- very original and informative! I use quite a few figures of speech in normal conversation but I try not to overdo it in my writing. I would only use them if it felt natural for the character to speak or think in that way.ReplyDelete
Hi Margo! Good to see you again. I think we first met with Rach's first crusade, and then haven't we both been doing the A-Z's every year? I always enjoy your posts on the writing craft.ReplyDelete
I was watching The Princess and the Frog with my daughter the other day, and the main character's friend has a way with words that is uniquely southern. My favorite figure of speech from her: "I'm sweating like a sinner in church!" The great thing is, as dialogue, it fit with her character. I don't use figures of speech often for the very reasons you point out, but when I do, it tends to be character-specific, and it has to serve a purpose.ReplyDelete
Excellent post. Happy A-Z blogging!
I like it when I see an inventive figure of speech that is witty and entirely apt in the context of the story. It makes me feel like I've just learned something new about the story world.ReplyDelete
I am not good at figures of speech in a narrative unless I am trying to think of something funny. It doesn't continue the flow. It's just intended to make the reader laugh.ReplyDelete
Dropping in from A to Z Challenge. It's my first year participating.