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Harness Literary Devices to Become a Better Writer Today

Do you want to be a better writer?

A great way to improve your writing skills is to play with literary devices.

Allegory, Foreshadow, Motif, Oxymoron, and Personification, for example, are literary devices that have their style and purpose to serve. It’s good practice to develop your writing style using a mix of devices. ⁠

Recognising literary devices used in fiction is a great way to build your pool of examples, much like a word list or character traits chart.

We explore literary devices in The Reading Room Podcast. Here, I read selected story passages aloud, and analyse these as a writer. I then invite you to do the same with prompts and exercises to try for yourself at home.⁠

Practising your craft will help you to improve your skills.

Common Literary Devices You Can Harness as a Writer:

Allegory – a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, such as a moral or political one.

A well-known example is Animal Farm, by George Orwell, where on the surface, the story is about farm animals when, in fact, a critique of the government.

Flashback – a device that moves an audience from the present moment in a chronological narrative to a scene in the past. A flashback can further clarify a plot point or character with background information and memories.

For example, the prose may flit back and forth between the past and present to hint at important memories for the protagonist.

Foreshadowing – used as a way to indicate or hint to readers something that is to follow or appear later in a story. It is a great device for creating suspense and dramatic tension in writing.

For example, in dialogue, a protagonist might say, “I have a bad feeling.” This will hint at a sense of foreboding that is realised when the story reaches a climactic plot point.

Motif – a dominant or recurring idea, image, sound, word, or symbol in writing used to focus the reader’s attention.

For example, illustrating that a protagonist is attentive to detail through their ‘sharp eyes’.

Personification – the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristic to something non-human, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.

For example, Lightning danced across the sky

Simile – a figure of speech and type of metaphor that compares two different things using the words “like” or “as.”

For example, He bruises like a peach.

Could you benefit from a friendly online writing community?

Writing can sometimes be an isolated experience. On those days when we feel stuck, being part of a community can provide the support you didn’t know you needed!

Join The Reading Room on Facebook where you can join the conversation and get support for your next idea or a chapter you’re struggling with.

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Photograph of inside a bookshop for The Reading Room Community Group






Of course, you may not feel ready to join a community right now, and that’s absolutely fine; there are lots of writing tips and resources on the blog to feed your creativity.

Let’s uncover your story together, with your #eyestothehorizon.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

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