If you’re a Phreelance reader, you know by now that we like to do our “forum” posts on Wednesdays.  Guess what today is.

In my freshman year of high school, I learned about literary devices.  In the interest of avoiding confusion, I’ll explain what that means.  It doesn’t mean a pens and erasers.  It means things like metaphors and similes and allegory – things that make groups of words more than just the sum of their parts.

I don’t consider myself literary, but I sure do love literary devices. As a result, today’s forum is less of a question than it is a compilation.  We’ve put together a list of our favorite devices, and we invite you to share you own.

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Gage–Synaesthesia.

People diagnosed with synaesthesia experience stimuli different than most.  They might experience sadness as a flooding of green, or say that the number 9 has a dark, tall, gracious character. They experience these connections across senses vividly, so much so that it is often a constant occurrence, not contextual or sporadic.

Literary synaethesia is only a little bit less amazing than the real kind. It works on creating intriguing sensory descriptions that make the reader think.  In forms like nonfiction you’ll mostly get some simpler synaesthesia, like a describing a color as hot or cold, or if you refer to a “heavy silence” or some such thing.  These are more common than you’d think, and more often than not we don’t even think twice about them.  It’s when you push the boundaries a little further that you get some phrases that make you have go back over the words and think about them.  What does green sound like?  Taste like?  Does hate have a smell?  It’s interesting to think about.

I personally think a porcupine would taste like a migraine.

Dash–Allegory.

Ever since freshman year of high school, I’ve been a fan of allegory. Prior to that, I was a fan of metaphor, which is like allegory’s kid brother. I just used a simile there, it’s related too. Maybe a cousin…

My love affair with allegory commenced when I read Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Upon reading and learning about allegory and its use in literature I felt like one of the people in the cave, watching shadows dance on the wall and thinking them the truth. As my knowledge of allegory grew, my chains fell away and I was able to stand and see that there was more than just shadows dancing around a fire.

I like the idea that one thing can symbolize another. Allegory uses this idea and takes it to its full extent by creating a story that allows a reader to enter into a separate space to plumb the depths of meaning in an idea, or concept. As a writer, I think it is an excellent thing to be able to create a story within a story and have both stories be replete with meaning and symbolism.

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