Having Fun with Words

Figurative Speech

One of the biggest reasons I love writing is simply because it’s so much fun. Of course, there are the endless characters I can create. And all the mysteries, the mayhem, the plot twists and turns. So delightful! But most important are the WORDS themselves!

Words can be serious and profound. Words can be funny. Words can be twisted and teased. Words can be clever. Words can be mysterious. Words are EVERYTHING!

Today I invite you to look at seven ways you can experiment with words in your story.


Exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.


The attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.


A figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, using “like” or “as.”


A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.


The formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g. cuckoo, sizzle).


Visually descriptive or figurative language; symbolic.


The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.

Don’t let these definitions (taken from the online Oxford Dictionary), cause you to stumble. Most likely you use examples of these all the time when you speak or write.

Let’s take a look:

Hyperbole–I got a million texts from her last night! (an exaggeration)

Personification–The wind wailed down the street. (giving the wind a human characteristic of voice)

SimileShe looked like a zebra in her new black and white coat. (comparing one thing to another with “like”)

Metaphor--The sturdy oak tree stood silent guard over the old house. (comparing one thing to another without the use of “like” or “as”)

OnomatopoeiaDing! Ding! I could hear the ice cream truck approaching. (using words that sound like the actual sound)

Imagery–The locket held more than a picture. It held her fragile heart within its tarnished gold case. (descriptive/symbolic language)

AlliterationTen tiny tadpoles twisted through the tangled reeds. (using words with the same first letter or sound)

Make Your Writing Colorful

Click on this link to the Figurative Language Worksheet from INTO THE SHADOWLANDS to see how I played with the words in my spooky story.

Happy Writing!

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