Setting: Techniques and Devices


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One descriptive device often deployed by writers is the simile, a figure of speech that compares two items using the words “like” or “as” in a way that shows an abstract correlation between the two. Similes are effective at sparking a quick mental picture in a reader’s mind to clearly convey the physicality of an object, the personality or emotions of a character, the condition of an item, or anything in between. Their economical nature also helps writers keep a tight word count while still painting an accurate picture of a person, place, or thing.

        The water was as black as ink.
        The flock of birds sounded like an angry mob.

        The hotel porter shuffled across the lobby, creaking and rocking like a ship lost at sea.


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