I think of hyperbole as a scene from the 1931 movie version of Frankenstein.
“Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. It’s alive…It’s alive, it’s moving, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive. IT’S ALIVE!”
Yeah. Exactly what I said after discovering fleas in my house. But that’s another story.
Hyperbole is a method of breathing life into a scene. It gives the manuscript a color and scent that nails the reader to the scene.
Behold the difference.
Tomato sauce, low salt: “The faded yellow house was at the end of a long, curvy drive.”
Salsa, extra spicy: “The faded yellow house sat at the end of the curvy drive with all the narrow-eyed impatience of a sour old man.”
Boiled egg: “In the distance, two mountains rose above the clouds.”
Eggs Florentine: “In the distance, the two mountains rose above the clouds like a prone Dolly Parton.”
Ham sandwich: “The huge SUV turned the corner and came toward them.”
Honey-glazed ham roast w/pecans: “An SUV turned the corner and barreled toward them looking like a gray version of Yosemite’s El Capitan.”
Use exaggeration to highlight a point. Get wild on occasion and give your readers a visual.
Got an over-the-top example to show us?