Issue 4 June, 2013
Your English teacher probably called it “figurative language.” I like to call it “expressive writing.” This issue of Wordnerdery shares some examples of expressive ways to make a memorable point, using tools like metaphors and similes.
Express yourself with style
Choosing words that are specific, colourful and interesting enrich meaning and bring your writing to life. Sometimes, that means using similes (“The river is like a snake…”) or metaphors (“The river snakes its way…”). Here are some examples of expressive writing I’ve found recently:
• Author Helen Humphreys in Nocturne: On The Life and Death of My Brother, quoted in a Globe and Mail book review:
“Narrative is too fluid. Grief is all chop, all rhythm and breaks, broken. It is the lurch of the heart, not the steady beating of it.”
• S.E.C.R.E.T. novelist “L.M. Adeline” talking about success following on the heels of Fifty Shades of Grey:
“Fifty Shades cleared the ice like a Zamboni to give me the path to take a shot.”
• Christopher S. Penn describing the usual “Such and Such Software announces revolutionary new version of software as global leader in the industry” and “unique.”
“Unique? No. In fact, this headline and unique dine at completely different tables.”
• A post on the Nieman Journalism Lab blog about the hashtag and getting attention in the three million tweets that mentioned #SuperBowl:
“And yet getting any single person’s attention is just short of impossible, like a single Niagara droplet screaming for notice as it shoots down the falls.”
• Mark Nichol in Daily Writing Tips, talking about profanity in prose:
“One might print a word with a nonalphabetical character in place of one or more letters, as many people do to circumvent profanity filters in the commenting function on websites. (Sh!t, for example, provides an orthographical fig leaf and additional emphasis in one stroke.)"
What expressive writing have you noticed lately? Hit "reply" and tell me about it! And let me know if you'd like help bringing your stories to life.
Images: Cheerful man by ‘photostock’ and FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Sue by Chris Salvo, salvophoto.com. The May issue should have included credit to “chanpipat” and FreeDigitalPhotos.net for the Interviewing image.