When Literal Isn't Best (Literal Versus Literary)
Sometimes you will want to use literary techniques that aren't true statements of fact.
Allusion: When you create an allusion, you are pointing out the similarities between two concepts. You are pointing out their similarities on a basic level, without going into too much depth.
Analogy: In an analogy, you compare one type of situation to another. By framing the analogy, you're pointing out the similarities and the differences between the two situations. You're not saying that these things are exactly the same, merely that they're similar.
Hyperbole: Hyperbole is when you exaggerate for emphasis. The statement “There has to be a six-foot mountain of snow out there!” might not be very factual, but it delivers a mental image of the amount of snow and the character's reaction to it.
Metaphor: When you use a metaphor, you are saying that something is another thing; as a result, you're indirectly stating that the two share similarities. A metaphor is always figurative.
Personification: In personification, you give an inanimate object the qualities of a human. You can also do the same with insects and animals.
Simile: A simile uses the words “like” or “as” to compare something.
Understatement: Understatement is kind of like the opposite of hyperbole. When using it, you are underplaying the fact you are presenting, making it seem less important than it actually is.
These devices will come up most often in fiction writing, but they can also be used in nonfiction writing to emphasize a point.