Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On Characters - Figures of speech

This blog is about using figures of speech to give a bit of depth to the people in the woven stories. Some people have a knack for using all of these. For me it can be a struggle and that may be a nurse thing since we're told just to get the facts. Why use these tools. To cpature a reader's attention, to stimulate their imagination and to give them an emotional response. One of the problems in using figures of speech is that some of the best are oft repeated and turn into cliches. The trick is to make them your own and your characters own. There are nineof these devises and some are very similar but different. So let us begin.

The simile is a comparison of one thing to another. This is an example. John is like a still pond. Makes you think about the qualities of a still pond. Perhaps secretive. Maybe deep. Perhaps someone with no emotions or with hidden ones. Similies are versatile and the most used figures of speech. Look at your story and see how you could use a simile to give flavor to one of your characters.

A metaphor unlike the simile that says one thing is like another, says one thing is another. John is a still pond, never showing emotion. She wonders what is going on beneath the surface. The important thing with metaphors is to maintain the image through out the sentence or paragraph. A rule is don't mix your metaphors. John is a still pond chasing after rainbows with the enthusiasm of a butterfly. That is definitely mixed.

Personification means giving an inanimate object or force of nature human attributes, emotions or powers. The wind raised its fist and smashed against the building. Using personification can establish and sustain a mood.

Sarcasm - A sarcastic speech is bitterly reproachful and often the implications taunt. One must be careful when using this figure of speech. In the mouth of a hero or heroine, this could make them unsympathetic. But this could give a real boost to the character of the bad guy. And above all don't use the tag, he said sarcastically. If used properly the sarcasm will stand out.

There are five more of these delightful tools that I'll go into next week.

1 comment:

Fiona McGier said...

Oh I am so pleased to see expert advice offered. As a writing teacher, I'm used to teenagers giving me odd looks when I wax rhapsodic about some particular turn of phrase, or a way of saying something that strikes a chord. I'm so glad to see it's not just me!