Writing Tip of the Week
How to Make Your Writing More Colourful
Figurative language to a writer is like a colour palette to an artist. It creates mental pictures with words that otherwise might fall flat. She was as plain as a slice of bread packs more punch than She was plain.
Figurative language communicates emotional content, too. Consider When his girlfriend discovered his lies he hung his head in shame as opposed to When his girlfriend discovered his lies he was embarrassed. In simple terms, it makes your writing more colourful.
What exactly is figurative language?
It's language that is used to convey something that is different from the literal definition of the word. Idioms, which are figures of speech, show this well:
Hit the nail on the head (to do something exactly right).
See eye to eye (two or more people agree on something).
Costs an arm and a leg (an item is expensive).
The ball is in your court (It's up to you to make the next decision).
Following are some variations of figurative language that will embellish your prose or poetry:
To give a human characteristic to something that is not human
(The wind howled outside his door.)
To repeat the same sound of the first or second letter in a string of words (The rumble of thunder rolled across the rooftop.)
To exaggerate a characteristic or situation often with humour (His feet were the size of his pontoon boat.)
To make a comparison between two things that aren't alike but have something in common (The lake was a mirror.)
To make a comparison between two things using "like" or "as"
(Her eyes were like the stars.)
When the name of the action imitates the sound it makes (The champagne cork popped.)
To repeat the vowel sound in a group of words (Go and mow the lawn, Joe.)
To use words or phrases that aren't meant to be taken literally (He got cold feet before his wedding and left his girlfriend at the altar.)
To use ideas or phrases that once were thought-provoking but have become unoriginal with overuse (He woke up on the wrong side of the bed; He is brave as a lion; All that glitters is not gold)
And speaking of Clichés . . . the following similes have been used too much. I challenge you to come up with some better similes and comment below.
As black as coal
As light as a feather
As clean as a whistle
As sharp as a tack (needle, razor)
As quick as a flash
As hungry as a bear
As heavy as lead
As bright as the sun
As green as grass