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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Exaggeration is not a bad thing.
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?


L.G.Smith said...


Your spicier sentences are much more vivid for me, and I think it is a reflection of voice as much as anything. I tend to like voice with a lot of energy in it, so hyperbole works for me in measured doses.

Huntress said...

Spicy is great...in small doses.

I love jalapenos but if I eat too many, in the end things do not go well.

Hyperbole is an accent to a scene, the red pillow on a gray sofa.

David P. King said...

I've seriously never heard it in this context before. Brilliant. Just brilliant. I use them occasionally, like you said, for the visual. :)

Carol Riggs said...

Love your examples! I think the exaggeration/hyperbole makes for a much stronger voice--and thus more exciting reading. :)

Carol Riggs said...

Hey! I thought I was following your blog. Hmm. Well, now I am. :D

Brooke R. Busse said...

Hehe, I like the Dolly Parton one. However, I rather think those more fall under the category of similies. Again, I think. Or you know, they just use really simplistic examples in school.

Huntress said...

You are correct, LOL. In the world known as sentence structure, (that class where everyone fell asleep) the definition of these phrases is ‘simile’.

It is up to the writer to make them bland and dry or juicy.

Huntress said...

It was quite exciting ridding my house of fleas, I can tell you that.

Donna Hole said...

I guess I'm just crass, but I loved the Eggs Flourintine :) Too cool.

On a serious note, these are the best examples of hyperbole I've seen. I've never totally understood word.


Tara Tyler said...

love your examples!
a refreshing spring breeze after a torrential summer storm of stagnant shallow writing =)

Tara Tyler said...

(mine, that is!)


"IIII, aint got no boody..."
(fave quotable movie!)