Writing Definitions

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #011.

Like any career or hobby, there’s a whole world built around writing that you may just be beginning to scratch the surface of. And let’s face it, we’re not born knowing how to respond if someone on Twitter asks if the MC in your WIP finds the McGuffin, or if it was just a red herring all along. 

Well that’s what the Writing Definitions guide is going to be for. Rather than spending countless hours trying to develop a feel for what all these various terms mean, a few specific terms will be defined with each issue of The Writer’s Everything. I hope that as this magazine continues, these terms can come to be so familiar to you that they become second-nature.

Figurative Language

Figurative language is a form of speech in which the words and expressions you use are not meant to be taken literally. Such language may be more impactful than literal language. It includes all of the following five examples.


A metaphor is a sort of figurative language in which two unrelated things are directly related to each other for the sake of comparison, without the words “as” or “like”. For example, “Life is a highway.”


A simile is a sort of figurative language in which the characteristics of two different things are related in direct comparison using words such as “like” or “as”. For example, “Life is like a box of chocolates.”


Personification is a sort of figurative language in which human characteristics are projected onto inanimate objects, animals, and the like. For example, “The sun smiled,” or, “The hills have eyes.”


Hyperbole is a sort of figurative language in which ideas are drastically over- exaggerated in order to emphasize a point or add humor to a statement. For example, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”


Symbolism is a sort of figurative language in which one object, person, or idea is used to symbolize another, often for the purpose of representing grand ideas and qualities. For example, The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom.

The Writer’s Everything

This article, as well as many others, have been featured in previous issues of my writing journal, The Writer’s Everything, in which I, along with occasional guest contributors, provide essays, guides, encouragement, motivation, writing prompts, character bio development kits, and anything else that can help you turn your dream of becoming a writer into a reality.

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