7. Creative Writing Exercises on Style

  Mastering the metaphor will be your greatest challenge as a writer. Once you have internalized the process of transforming insipid sentences into exciting metaphors, you will notice an increase in both the speed and the quality of your writing. There are two enjoyable films that put the metaphor at the forefront: The Postman [Il…

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6. What the Writers are Saying: Quotes about Style

  Let’s see what some writers are saying about style: “The garden is one of the two great metaphors for humanity. The other, of course, is the river. Metaphors are a great language tool, because they explain the unknown in terms of the known. But they only work if they resonate in the heart of…

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5. Adjectives

  Adjectives are parts of speech that modify nouns and pronouns. They are extremely common and important in both everyday speech and formal writing, from the simple “I am happy” to the sublime “And my poor fool is hang’d!” of Shakespeare’s King Lear. The adjectives under fire The adjective has come under fire more than…

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4. Foreign Words, ‘Big Words,’ and Neologisms in Writing

  Nothing is more horrible in a writer than pretention. The use of foreign words and highbrow vocabulary for the sole purpose of showcasing one’s great learning is the mark of a true literary fraud. Should a writer ever use the thesaurus? The thesaurus can be a scary thing when used for the wrong purposes.…

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3. Slang and Obscenities in Writing

    The first-person narrator Slang, obscenities, and colloquialisms are generally not used in straight, third-person narrative. It becomes, however, extremely instrumental when narrating in the first person. Let’s consider a few examples from J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (1951). The opening sentence immediately sets the tone of the novel: “If you really…

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2. Metaphors in Writing

  Similes and metaphors are figures of speech that abet the writer in achieving literary abstraction. What is a simile? Similes are direct, explicit comparisons between two very different things, actions, and feelings that often use the “as….as…” or “like” construction. They are extremely common, especially in everyday speech. A simile such as “His face…

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1. Introduction to Style

  As you get dressed in the morning, you have a closet full of clothes from which to choose. What makes you select one item over another depends on your mood or the occasion of that day, but essentially your selection is limited to the clothes you have in your closet. Whatever combination of clothes…

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