Whether you write literature or not, literary devices can be useful. A good analogy can help explain something better. A delightful irony makes a story more attractive. Some humour helps engage your reader. Some hyperbole helps provoke them.
Here are some of my favourites.
Synecdoche: A part of something referring to the whole like ‘demonetisation’ as a symbol of the government’s abysmal financial policy, for instance. I use this often in my film reviews, where I use a scene or a dialogue as representative of the whole film.
Rhyme: I have such childish love for internal rhyme. I was disproportionately pleased with this closing sentence of my Soorarai Pottru review: “He is the man we want to be. And Kongara is the writer and director, more of whom, we want to see.”
Alliteration: This is perhaps from my Tamil roots, but I love alliterations. If there needs to be more than one example in my work, it will likely be alliterative.
Euphemism: In corporate writing, you can’t call things nasty names. So, you say “legacy systems” when we mean “old shit that doesn’t work”.,
Anecdotes (technically called parables): Most of The Whole Works is anecdotes, isn’t it?
Isocolon: A series of sentences that have the same number of words / syllables. “In god, we trust” or “think problem, think brand” type things. I love the rhythm it creates when used in successive sentences.
There are also a few others that I commonly use, an analogy to explain something, an allusion to past cinema, a metaphor, a simile, a cliche, innuendo, even grandiloquence on a bad day.
As I was researching this piece, I realise that we all use some of these literary devices, without really knowing there is a name for that. Wikipedia has a long list. Some day, I’ll spend time to formally learn the various literary and stylistic devices, and figures of speech.
For now, which ones do you use / like? Tell tell.