Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Common Literary Terms, Badly Explained.

Face withheld to protect the innocent. Yes, he is that good-looking.

Harold C. Jones

Here are a few common literary terms badly explained.

An antonym is the pen-name of an ant.

A simile is what they use when something is going to assimilate you. 

In fact, what I just said is similar to what I meant and how I should have said it in the first place. And now I shall slowly digest you.

Irony is like a Dutchman with a shoe fetish, or a Tea Party member poking a gun in your face and shrieking how much she loves the Constitution.

Onomatopoeia is self-explanatory. Give me a hard one next time, ah, but it’s basically just when the writer uses a lot of ‘o’s.

Punctuation is what the editor wants to do to the writer after a long phone session.

Adverbs. This is when you add verbs to make a sentence complete.


Before: This is when you to make a sentence complete.

After: This is when you add verbs to make a sentence complete. And just for the record, ‘verb’ is in fact a verb: hence, re-verb-erate. That ain’t a fuckin’ noun, ladies and gentlemen.

Semi-colon. A semi-colon is considered a rather half-assed piece of pumpcutation. Editors hate ‘em; so I throw one in once in a while. It makes their day complete.

Adjective. The opposite of an expletive. This is what you use when your audience is G-rated.

Example: “Move that fucking chair.” (X and R audience.)

               “Move that red chair.” (General Audiences.)     

Allegory. All the categories put together in one big, a mixed-up bag of shit, like a dog’s breakfast. A fairy tale told by animals.

Alliteration. What happens to you after you dive in headfirst and get your feet wet in the world of language. After a while, you become alliterated. It means you can read now. That’s not the same as people accepting you.

Allusion. Showing the reader something that isn’t visible; a literary menage, shimmering above the desert and making you think that’s a lake up ahead.

Theme. This is the stuff that you tell people when they ask, “Hey, why’d you write that crazy book, anyways?” A special kind of nonsense.

Unreliable Narrator. Self-explanatory by this point, I should think.

Didactic. Uninformative, boring. Written by teachers.

Couplet. A short writer and his vertically-truncated wife. Or a short writer and her husband. Or a short writer and their same-sex spousal person.

Denouement. This is when a lady takes her clothes off and the author fades to black. This is basically a French short form for ‘de-nude-moment.’

Epigram. A message written on a piece of skin.

Elegy. Some guy talking in a churchyard—ha. Another easy one.

Flashback. Otherwise known as dis-associative fugue or writer’s block of the active presentation. A mysterious desire not to deal with the present.

Hyerbole. A bole that exists in greater than the traditional four dimensions. I’ve seen one or two over the years.

Motif. Sorry, I’ll have to skip this one. An old editing injury has flared up. Seriously, and it’s driving me crazy.

Woe is me.

I can’t go out in public like this.


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