Taught by Maggie Lynch
Meaning is more than just a sum of the parts. Human understanding of figurative language requires more than an understanding of individual word meanings. When someone reads a novel they assemble individual words and create a picture in their mind of what is happening, what the world looks like, how characters feel and what motivates them to continue when challenged.
Figurative language and literary devices have been used in oral storytelling traditions as well as in the written word. It helps storytellers to accurately create pictures in a readers/listeners mind–pictures that encompass emotion, motivation, conflict, and identification. This is used at all levels of storytelling, from children’s stories to adult literary novels. When used effectively figurative language helps people to learn, remember, and understand.
Most writers unconsciously use some of these techniques already because we naturally use techniques like simile and metaphor, irony and satire in our everyday conversations. This course will help you learn to consciously use the full power of the language and devices you already use naturally, as well as others that may help to take your stories deeper and help readers root for your characters, fall in love with your world building, and finish the book with the desire to tell everyone that this is a book they must read.
Figurative language goes hand-in-hand with literary and rhetorical devices. Whereas you may use a literary device such as metaphor, the way in which the language (actual words you choose and the order in which you place them) creates that metaphor is what provides the nuanced meaning you intend. Poets often use language to enhance the music and rhythm of their poetry, as well as the imagery. Prose writers can do this as well. The primary function of these techniques is to force readers to imagine what a writer wants to express and to feel what the characters are feeling.
The expectation is that you will be working on your own WIP (work-in-progress) as part of this course. There will be homework every week to incorporate those parts of figurative language and literary devices into your own work as appropriate.
This course includes how to:
- Examine how figurative language lends itself to POV, setting, world-building, and action.
- Choose among 22 common literary devices for your own novel and know where and how to employ them to effect the readers understanding.
- Identify 50 rhetorical devices that make a difference in the power of the words you want to convey.
- Rearrange sentences and paragraphs so that specific words provide more power to the scene(s) you have created.
- Use some of the techniques of poetry to create a specific rhythm of words to enhance the meaning or feeling of a scene.
- Judiciously pare back or delete figurative language that is only for show but does not accurately convey the intended meaning.
2022 Open Sections
Thursdays, Sept 1 – Sept 29, 9:00am PT, 12:00pm ET, 5:00pm GMT – Full. Registration is closed.
Duration: 5 Weeks, meets every Thursday at the same time for 2 hours on Zoom.