Stories are a construct. Engaging and dramatic narratives will consist of carefully crafted plots, dynamic characters, an appropriate setting, and language that grabs your attention. This page will try to define the key techniques and concepts writers exploit to tell a good story.
When a writer wants to emphasise an idea or create a particular rhythm in their work, repetition is a useful rhetorical and literary device. By deliberately repeating a sound, word or phrase, they can draw our attention to the image and reinforce its intended meaning. In this section, you can find definitions and examples of anaphora, epimone, rhyme, alliteration, consonance, sibilance and assonance.
It is difficult to describe the world to a reader who has no experience or knowledge of those objects and emotions. By comparing them to something more familiar, a writer can concisely convey meaning with greater accuracy and eloquence.
Juxtaposition is an important method in developing character, setting, themes and concepts in a story. It is defined as the meaningful placing of two elements together for dramatic effect or to enable the audience to compare and contrast the ideas.
For example, a writer might depict the different values of the hero and villain throughout the story or one quiet scene could immediately follow a moment of immense turmoil so we will have time to reflect on what happened. Juxtaposition is also an important technique for creating vivid and memorable images that will stand out to the audience.
Entertaining stories need compelling characters. Writers have an infinite variety of tricks to introduce and develop their protagonists. This process of choosing the right combination of action, dialogue, imagery and other details is called characterisation.
The natural rhythm of our speech is created by the amount of force we use to pronounce different words and stressing some syllables more than others. Poetry shapes these patterns into a melody with, as Coleridge argued, “the best words in their best order”.