Tag, You’re It

One of my brilliant fellow picture book writer/colleagues at Pens and Brushes, Mirka Breen, tagged me on her blog to join in a blogging game. It was fun to answer the questions, so I’m passing them along to you.

I answered the questions and I hope you will also play.

Rules/questioned copied are in bold.

The Tag rules:
1. You must post the rules!
2. Answer the questions.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.
Questions to answer:If you could live in a fictional world, where would that be? Just off the top of my head, I would say Camelot. I’ve been enamored of King Arthur for as long as I can remember: at least as far back as Junior High School. I have a good-sized collection of books about him and I have a story that’s been hatching since I was an undergraduate in college. Of course, there are many other fictional places I would love to live in; Hogwarts, Dodge City, any time period in London, among others.Do you read in noisy or quiet places? I usually read in quiet places, but noise does not bother me; when I get involved in a book, I can read anywhere.What was the first book you ever read? I don’t remember the first book I actually read, but I remember that The Raggedy Ann and Raggdy Andy were among the first books that I really loved. In school, I loved reading the Dick and Jane books and the Alice and Jerry books.

If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? My literature profs stressed that Western Literature is born of both Greek Literature and the Bible. So, I would have to insist that I get a copy of both the Bible and Homer.

Favourite author? Okay, this is like putting a pin in a map of the world. Charles Dickens.

Do reviews influence your choice of reads? I think I go more with word of mouth.

Fiction or Non fiction? Fiction.

Have you ever met your favourite author? I met Judy Blume at an SCBWI Conference a few years ago, and that was one of the highlights of my literary career. What a lovely person she is and a joy to listen to. And she continues to produce wonderful books.

Audio books or Paperbacks? I try to keep an audio book in the car most of the time, but I love nothing more than curling up with paper book.

Classic or Modern Novels? Both. I still haven’t finished Shakespeare, but as for modern, I prefer Young Adult.

Book Groups or Solitary Reading? I’ve only ever belonged to one book reading group. That was in Pensacola, Florida. I enjoyed listening to the opinions of the other readers and discussing some interesting books. But next to writing, solitary reading is my most favorite activity.

11 people to tag? Ah!

Join only if you think you could use this excursion in your life. And let me know if you do.

Sylvia Leontaritis

Cana Rensberger

Margot Finke

Holly Owen

Pam Maynard

J. Aday Kennedy

Marva Dasef

Barbara Ehrentreu

Brian Knight

Bill Kirk

Sue Perkins

Don’t forget YOU’VE BEEN TAGGED. I hope to hear from you soon with the link to your posting.

If your name isn’t on the list, and you want to play, join in and send me your link.

Thanks, Mirka, for tagging me and letting me play along.

Monday Metaphors: Over the Top with Hyperbole

How does a writer create emphasis and evoke strong feeling from the reader in describing an emotion or event or object that is almost too fantastic to believe? She uses the rhetorical device known as hyperbole. “Hyperbole” comes from the Greek word meaning “exaggeration.”

Exaggeration can be effective in both comedy and drama. Or it can make the reader roll his eyes. “This bag weighs a ton,” is of the eye-rolling variety. In everyday speech, a husband might say, “I waited an eternity for my wife to get ready.” Or, “You could have knocked me over with a feather.” We’ve all heard, “I nearly died laughing,” and “He’s got tons of money.” We use these Over the Top Expressions often and they have become clichés.

Writers want to avoid clichés in most instances. The goal of the writer is to add fun or emphasis by creating appropriate hyperbole, enhancing the tone of the story. Hyperbole links writer and reader in a conspiracy that says, this is too good not to use, but it’s not to be taken literally. Even though it is implausible, the exaggeration gets the point across when a simple metaphor seems too weak.  

Many great writer have employed hyperbole.

In the Folk Tale, Paul Bunyan, it took five storks to deliver the baby giant.

Homer. The Iliad

Mars roared as loudly as nine or ten thousand men in the thick of a fight, and the Achaeans and Trojans were struck with panic, so terrible was the cry he raised.”

James Thurber. “University Days.”

Thurber talks about his dismal showing in military drilling when he was a student at Ohio State. He seems to have driven his drill instructor to hyperbole. “I was no good at all. Once General Littlefield, who was commandant of the cadet corps, popped up in front of me during regimental drill and snapped. ‘You are the main trouble with this university!’ I think he meant that my type was the main trouble with the university but he may have meant me individually.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Concord Hymn.”

“By the rude bridge that arched the flood,

Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,

Here once the embattled farmers stood

And fired the shot heard round the world.”

Ah, this takes me back to the seventh grade and Mrs. Alison’s English class.


Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The Hundred Years of Solitude.

He was a fugitive from all the plagues and catastrophes that had ever lashed mankind.”


William Shakespeare. Othello.

“…On horror’s head horrors accumulate;

Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amazed;

For nothing canst thou to damnation add

Greater than that.”

Hyperbole is also effective in literature for children.

C. Collodi. The Adventures of Pinocchio.

“He cried all night, and dawn found him still there, though his tears had dried and only hard, dry sobs shook his wooden frame. But they were so loud that they could be heard by the faraway hills…”

In my “The Case of the Missing Mascot,” (published in Characters Magazine), the principal, Mrs. Gardner, gives Karen permission to search the school for the missing plush bear.

            “The bell rang and a few of the kids went home. They were the ones who didn’t want to see the team get ground into the dirt. Most everybody stayed to give the team moral support in its darkest hour.

            “As I left the gym, the Oak Hill team arrived. That was when I remembered the key to the trophy case. I checked its nail in Mrs. Gardner’s office. It wasn’t there.

            “About an hour and a million classrooms later, I returned to the scene of the crime, empty-handed.”

The very premise behind Bruce Coville’s My Teacher Flunked the Planet is hyperbolic in nature. The whole planet?! What fun.

Let me know of any hyperboles you have used in your work.

Well, I have to go now. I’m so hungry I could eat an elephant.

Contact Info:

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.


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