Friday, 13 April 2012

Let's get literary

Literary terms - I have a dictionary of them since I started studying literature with the Open University and today I am sharing a couple of my favourite ones.

Deus ex Machina (literally "god out of a machine") is an improbable contrivance in a story. The phrase describes an artificial, or improbable, character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot (such as an angel suddenly appearing to solve problems). The term is a negative one, and it often implies a lack of skill on the part of the writer.

When I read this description I couldn't help thinking about a book I was forced to waste some of my precious life reading as part of a book club I used to belong to (and no, this wasn't what made me leave!). It was a religious conversion tool thinly disguising itself as a novel called The Shack. In it a man who's daughter has been murdered by a serial killer goes to the shack in the mountains where the killer apparently took his daughter and hangs around in it for a bit with God, Jesus and The Holy Ghost. As if that premise itself wasn't bad enough, the writing, well don't get me started. So this book didn't just employ this technique suddenly, it was one massive Deus ex Machine and I highly recommend that all readers avoid it at all costs.

Hyperbole is exaggeration or overstatement.

This one I chose just because there is something really pleasing about the way the word feels in your mouth when you say it. And I literally have said it at least a couple of thousand times this morning already because I like it so much, and I've only been up an hour!


  1. When I lost my sister last year, The Shack was recomended to me by no fewer than 10 people...I made it to their second morning with breakfast about to be served and threw up my hands. It did not make me feel better about my crisis of pissed me off even more. I don't think I will ever go back and finish it. I would eat my shoe before I did something so foolish...(get it?).

  2. Sorry to hear of your loss Jaimee. I'm glad you agree about how terrible the book is. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog :)

  3. I share your love of the word 'hyperbole' - especially relevant as we have both worked for someone who made an entire career out of talking hyperbo**ocks.

    1. Ha ha. The seed must have been planted then!