By Deborah S. Nelson, Author-Speaker-Publishing Coach
HYPERBOLE & EXAGGERATION
Hyperbole means the writing is exaggerated and vague, and usually lacks specific detail. However, there is a time and a place for hyperbole, especially in fiction. If you are trying to make a point or trying to paint a picture of a character, quoting someone, then it may be useful.
Hyperbole is not meant to be taken literally. Yet, if you are trying to make serious points, hyperbole is can backfire. For the most part, exaggerated words and phrases must go. Scan your writings for words such as very, much, literally, enormous, over, more than, too, quite, extremely, up to, all of, totally, involved, all of us, and such words that overstate the reality. In writing, often, less is more.
Writing Sample #1: Jones explained ideas too enormous to understand, and simplified problems too complex to approach.
REWRITE—Writing Sample #1: Jones explained complicated ideas and simplified complex problems.
Writing Sample #2: The rescue workers, doctors, and various assistants are all heroes because, with the help of God, they managed to save all of the people involved in that accident.
REWRITE—Writing Sample #3: Rescue workers, doctors, and their assistants deserve to be commended, due to the 25 [added detail] lives they saved in the accident.
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