How to Use Literary Devices
- Write Naturally. Whenever you write, you’re using literary/rhetorical devices – even if you don’t know it! That’s because some of these techniques are such a natural part of everyday speech that they slip into our writing as well.
- Read Carefully. All your favorite authors use literary devices, and if you pay close attention, you can keep track of them as you read. As you get good at recognizing literary devices, try to see how the author uses many different devices to contribute to the overall effect of the story or poem.
- Learn individual techniques. Each literary device has its own tricks and benefits, and no one is perfect at all of them. But the only way to improve is through patient practice. Try to learn a new technique every week or so and incorporate it into your own everyday writing.
When to Use Literary Devices
By definition, literary devices occur in literature rather than essays. So, strictly speaking, they belong to creative writing. Rhetorical devices would be the ones used in an essay. Again, though, literary devices are basically the same as rhetorical devices, so this distinction doesn’t matter too much. Literary/rhetorical devices are appropriate for every form of writing – even emails and text messages! If you pay attention, you’ll probably catch yourself using devices like rhetorical questions, analogies, and puns as you write.