Yes! The world of literary devices and the world of how to build your own online business have collided right here on Pocket Business!
What in the name of whatever do literary devices have to do with making money? Outside of if you write novels for money?
You know why? Because literary devices are important to your writing. And have you noticed how much writing you do for your business?
It’s a lot. I should come up with a great literary device to explain to you how much writing you do.
The amount of writing you do for your business is like the amount of food at an all you can eat buffet. Just when the pan of macaroni and cheese is getting crusty and nearly empty, someone comes out with new pan brimming with cheesey goo.
You thought you were full. But if you undo the top button…
The writing is the Mac and cheese and your business is your belly. It’s always going to want more Mac and cheese.
Why Do Literary Devices Matter to Me?
I know, I know. What’s in it for you? Why does it matter that you know anything about literary devices?
I’ll tell you why.
It’s because a well placed literary device can be the AHA! moment for your reader. It can be the thing that makes it click.
It allows your reader to create an image in their mind of the concept they’ve just read about.
For instance, when you think about writing for your business, you might forever now think about gooey Mac and Cheese.
It can also just be an enjoyable moment of good reading for your reader. I don’t think the Mac & cheese analogy was that, but you might come up with one that is enjoyable for your reader.
What is a Literary Device?
I’m going to bring you back to 4th grade English class. You ready?
A literary device helps you express the purpose of your writing. It enhances your writing.
Usually literary devices are used in, you guessed it, literature. They are also referred to as rhetorical devices if you’re talking about anything other than literature, but literary devices is the more common phrase.
In literature, you use a literary device to bring beauty to your writing. To enhance the mental image that your reader is getting as they read.
In business writing, literary devices can still make your writing more beautiful (no one said business writing can’t be beautiful), but they also help to clarify ideas for your reader.
My boss, Scrivs, is a master at analogies. Here’s an example:
“As you start your week, I’m guessing (just a hunch) that a lot of you are stuck not doing anything. Maybe it’s writing an email, doing a youtube video, publishing a blog post, or creating your offer. Let me offer you this reminder. You can create these things and not push them out if you don’t want to but there is no reason NOT to create them just because you’re worried about something. You get to dictate the messaging around them and if they get published. If you’re stuck “planning” then start creating them anyways and it will help your thinking.
Y’all pretending to go on a date and wondering if the date will like your outfit while the outfit just sits in the closet and you’re just imagining yourself wearing it. Put the damn thing on. See how it fits.“
That first paragraph is helpful advice.
The analogy in the second paragraph, however, makes you go “AHHHH, good point…” And then the whole thing sticks in your head forever.
A good literary device makes the purpose of your writing more memorable and brings clarity to your reader.
4 Literary Devices You Can Use In Your Writing
I can’t really call a story a literary device, but telling stories in your writing is important and a great place to use some of these literary devices.
When you start to tell a story, your audience starts to play out that story in their head. They actually become a part of the story. That’s powerful.
Similes & Metaphors (aka Analogies!)
Similes & Metaphors are probably two of the literary devices you remember best from school.
They both compare two things, but similes use like or as to make the comparison.
My Mac & cheese example is a simile. Scrivs “try on the clothes” comparison is a metaphor.
This one is one of my favorites. But it can really drive an emotion home.
The definition is:
A recurring structure that uses a word or phrase repeatedly to add emphasis.
Think, “I Have a Dream” speech.
There’s repetition that is impactful. There’s a rhythm that feels like poetry. There’s a cadence that draws you in.
(See what I did there? That’s parallelism).
If the “I have a dream” speech feels like too lofty an example, here’s another:
To succeed in business you need to get them to notice you, get them to pay attention and get them to trust you.
(That’s the first three parts of the Pocket Business Framework).
Antithesis is a great literary device to use on your Sales pages where you want to create an “either/or” scenario.
With antithesis you put two opposing ideas together to show the contrast between them.
My favorite example of this is Michelle Obama’s famous line:
“When they go low, we go high”.
Do you feel that? It’s simple but the contrast is so powerful.
It’s an immediate us vs. them. If you can learn to do an us vs. them like Madam First Lady, you are going to do great things.
You know this one, don’t you? It’s when you have the repeating sound in the first part of each word in a phrase.
Reduce, Reuse Recycle.
Admittedly, this isn’t usually the most breathtaking of the literary devices, but it does make for a memorable phrase.
You do have to be careful with alliteration, though. Only use it where it really works without too much effort.
Go Spice Up Your Writing with Some Literary Devices
Ok, now that you have had a complete refresher from 4th grade English class, go play around with some of these literary devices and see which ones you like to use.
My favorite is definitely Parallelism, but maybe you’re more of a Metaphor kind of guy.
That’s cool. All of the devices do a job and that’s to make your writing clear and memorable.
So start using them!