Tag Archives: aura

Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter V




is for Verisimilitude




Verisimilitude is the appearance of reality in a work of fiction.

I have written before about how all narrative is a construct of reality. This means that it is supposed to seem real, but it’s not really reality, it’s just constructed to appear that way.

My soon to be released novel, The Revenant, is case in point. Revenants as described in my novel do not exist in reality. And though they are believed to exist in certain circles of belief, the jury is still out as to whether seers, aura readers, empaths and possessed spirits actually exist. As a writer, that is none of my concern. As a writer, my job is to make you, the reader, believe my story could be real, that these creatures could–and in fact do–exist.

I recently had a verisimilitude shocker. I set out to travel the downtown core taking pictures of places documented in The Revenant. When I arrived at Yonge-Eglinton Square, I was surprised to see that the square was under construction. By the looks of it, they were extending the shopping plaza there out and into the square! My heart sunk at the thought of the size of the re-write–I’d have to relocate the scenes there to Dundas Square if I wanted to maintain the verisimilitude of the scene. That is, if I wanted people to believe the scene was real based on the scenery I described.

How important is verisimilitude in a piece of literature to you? If you read about a scene and there are errors in the location or the science being described does it spoil the story for you? Post your comments below.

Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter F




is for Foil




Foils are characters that have opposing character traits and motivations.

An example of foils from classical literature are Macbeth and Macduff from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In this example, Macbeth is driven by ambition to suit his own, selfish needs, while Macduff’s only ambition is altruistic in nature, to put the kingdom back to rights. Macduff and his wife’s relationship is a loving one, while Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s is adversarial. Macduff has a child while Macbeth has none. Macduff is allied with Malcolm while Macbeth is his enemy. These and other traits set Macbeth and Macduff up as near polar opposites in character and desire, establishing them as foils.

In The Revenant, Morgan and his brother Malchus are constructed as opposites. Morgan is the naughty child, Malchus the good one. Morgan tends his family’s farm fields while Malchus is apprenticed to the local doctor. Morgan has the gift of foresight, something he wishes would go away while Malchus actively seeks out and embraces his power in the Dark Arts. Malchus raises Zulu from the grave for nefarious means; Morgan saves him. Morgan finds a life of purpose embracing the good while Malchus loses himself in evil. For these and other reasons, the brothers are set up as having opposing personalities, desires and motivations, rendering them foils.

Can you think of any other foils in literature or television? Post your ideas in the comments below.