The English language is full of idiomatic phrases and figurative expressions that often take on new life in casual conversation. One of those expressions that often irks grammarians is the use (or misuse) of literally and figuratively. Have you noticed the overuse of literally in everyday speech? Today let’s look at these two terms and how to use them to our advantage as writers.
Beginning writers often start stories with a ringing alarm clock, following the protagonist’s daily routine. But what if there’s a better place to begin the story? One that will hook your reader and keep them turning the page? Ancient storytellers understood the power of beginning in medias res. Let’s find out what it is and how you can use it for your story today.
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” —Mark Twain
One of the best parts about writing is the fact that you get to pick your words. And we have so many words to choose from! Literally tens of thousands of beautiful words flitting through space, just waiting for you to pinpoint exactly which one to use to describe your protagonist, setting, or climactic scene. However, despite the fact that you have seemingly unlimited options when it comes to word choice, the meaning that you’re trying to express may narrow your selection significantly.
We’re venturing into a realm where writers bend the rules of grammar in the name of creativity, but to the great frustration of editors. A comma splice is one of the most easily avoidable grammatical travesties.
If you’ve opened a novel and seen a quote on the opening pages then you’ve seen a literary epigraph. But what are they really? Why do authors use them? And how do you know if you need one for your own work in progress?