When figurative language is quite useful in writing, it makes it interesting and clearer. It also makes you sound like a true literary genius. Most figurative language allow the writer to show comparisons in the writing. Commonly, metaphors and similes are used. However, you must use figurative language wisely and carefully for it can cause your writing to sound silly.
Caution is important. Make sure you know why you are using figurative language. It is not a bandage to sound fancy! If it does not sound fitting for the tone of your writing or your style of writing, then don’t use it for the piece.
Also don’t overdo its use. A paragraph that is loaded with figurative language can sound very confusing for the reader. Just, use it to enhance the mood of your story, clarify meaning or theme. Many writer make good use of it. Read regularly to see how good writers use figurative language in their writing.
You can read this short story. Observe how figure language was used in Oscar Wilde’s “The Selfish Giant“. Search for the figurative language used in the story and think of the reasons the author choose to use it.
This exercise focuses on three figures of speech: metaphor, simile, and personification.
A metaphor compares two things by suggesting that one thing is another: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances.” William Shakespeare
A simile compares two things by saying that one thing is like another: “The water made a sound like kittens lapping.” — The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Personification involves giving non-living things the attributes of a living thing: “Because I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me – The Carriage held but just Ourselves – And Immortality.” by Emily Dickinson.
Time for an exercise. Read the questions carefully before attempting.