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I feel as though my mind is uncreative because I keep coming up with trite words and comparisons. For instance, I if I want to say something is the highest in some quality, I will simply say it is highest in that quality or I will say it is the most (that quality). I mean this is what I do most of the time.

How do I fix this? Is it acceptable to use old language? I thought old language is unmoving, uninteresting, and unentertaining.

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    What do you mean by "old language"? Do you consider (for example) Shakespeare "unmoving, uninteresting, and unentertaining"? What about religious texts? Fairy tales? In my experience, they're usually full of metaphors, flowery language, formulaic repetitions, etc.
    – Llewellyn
    Sep 20, 2020 at 14:12
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    Question: Are you fluent in the language you're writing? Or might you lack the vocabulary to express your ideas?
    – Llewellyn
    Sep 20, 2020 at 14:14
  • By old language I meant, not language from older times, but language which has been used already.
    – garbia
    Sep 20, 2020 at 15:50
  • I'm fluent in English, my native language, but I might need to expand my vocabulary.
    – garbia
    Sep 20, 2020 at 15:51

1 Answer 1

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It can be very difficult for some writers to inject a little 'creativity' into their writing.

I think what you're looking for is 'imagery'. We don't always need to say exactly what something is - we can say what it's like - what it feels like, reminds us of, and is comparable to. This can be much more evocative and powerful than bluntly stating a fact.

Here are some imagery techniques to help you get started...

Simile

When we say that something is like something else. The snow fell like icing sugar from a sieve.

Metaphor

When we say that something is something else. Icing sugar snow, falling from some great sieve in the sky.

Personification

When we speak about something that isn’t alive, as though it is alive. The lorry peered at me with its headlights, watching, its engine growling at me.

Symbolism

This is usually a small piece of imagery that ties to a bigger element of the story. For example, a red door might symbolise blood. In Harry Potter, snakes symbolise evil and sneakiness. Whenever we see a snake in Harry Potter, we know we have something to worry about!

The Senses

Don’t forget that we don’t just ‘see’ and ‘hear’ things. To really bring something to life, we can use the other senses too. For a location, we could mention the crunch of the snow underfoot. The smell of cakes and buns from the bakery over the road. Smoke in the air, so bitter you could taste it.


There are lots more, but these are a good starting point. Some of them take practice. I would advise that you read lots of books to help get a sense of how other writers do it, and to gather inspiration.

The final thing I'd say is, sometimes it's fine to just be blunt. Not everything has to be poetic, and often it's clearer to just describe something exactly how it is.

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  • Usually I'd say someone should wait to accept an answer, but you pretty much nailed it.
    – DWKraus
    Sep 20, 2020 at 21:09
  • I appreciate that - thank you. Sep 20, 2020 at 21:18
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    An important point is that you don't have to do these things in the first pass. You can write as tritely as you like and then, having the structure in hand, work to strengthen the language.
    – Mary
    Sep 21, 2020 at 0:44

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