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Discussing: Literary Techniques You Can Use

Literary Techniques You Can Use

"Literary Techniques" is not exactly the term I was going for, but I lost it. The term.

Anyway, I wrote a story in another fandom. I began it with the words of a letter. One day while thinking about the epilogue (well before I was ready to write it), I thought it would be great that, if after this mysterious thing at a church, the main character should write another character a letter. I didn't realize it at the time, but what I'd done was make bookends.

And that made me think that a discussion on whatever bookends is an example of (literary technique is the best I can come up with) might be helpful to knew writers. I'm thinking of creative things writers can do with the form of a story, not just the words.

Other writers could post other techniques. Such as flashback. Someone should write about flashbacks. Maybe I will someday. But for now, I'll write about bookends.

That story of mine started with a letter and ended with a letter. That is an example of bookends (and no, I'm sure that's not a grand literary term, but it works for me). Call it a gimmick if you want. It can be a neat technique to try in your story. I did it by accident, but you can do it on purpose.

I'm not sure what I can call another technique I'm using, but it's similar to bookends. Instead of ending and beginning the same way, I'm separating the parts of a trilogy with doors. The first story ends with my character walking through a door. The second story ends with my character walking through a door. The third story will just end. Maybe with my character walking through a door.





By parallels, I mean similar things happening in two plot-lines of a story.

For example, I wrote (in another fandom) a story were a character is, basically, in a coma. While in that coma, he's having (as one way to put it) an out-of-body experience. In this case, a journey. So while his spirit is journeying with the eventual end of getting home, his body is meanwhile being transported toward home. They both reach home at the same time at the end of the story.

One plot line (body) paralleled the other (spirit).

You could do the same with two different characters as well.




Re: Parallels

The classic Lit-Crit term for this is doubling.

There are several variants of doubling: doubling by division, by muliplication, and decomposition.

Gandalf is doubled (obviously) with Saruman. That's a doubling by division: ie, one is good, the other isn't.

Theoden is doubled with Aragorn. That's a doubling by multiplication: two Kings who regain their thrones.

Frodo is doubled with both Sam & Gollum--decomposition. One reprsents the honest Hobbit he strives to be; the other what he fears he is becoming.

The variations on doubling are endless.




Re: Parallels

RE: doubling.

Cool. I knew there was a term for it, but I couldn't think of it.

Can you think of the overarching term for what doubling is? "Literary techniques" was the best I could come up with because the word (whatever it is) just wouldn't come to me.




Re: Parallels

Probably the best thing to call what we're discussing here are simply "literary terms & style", since that's what we're describing. I dug out my battered copy of Abrams' "Glossary of Literary Terms", and that title says it all. It's a lousy name, but the other possibilities--form, structure, etc, don't really cover it. M&M--methods & materials--really don't do it, either. So I would use either Term & Style or Tecnique.




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