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Friday, August 17, 2012


A story is increasingly more interesting and enjoyable when the reader is able to visualize what a writer is communicating. Writers use metaphors and similes to make their writing more visual. A Double-Duty sentence does even more, acting like an analogy instead of a metaphor.
You may ask, “What is the difference between an analogy and a metaphor?” A clear description can be found in Bradford Stull’s The Elements of Figurative Language (Longman, 2001) in which he states, “In essence, the analogy does not claim total identification, which is the property of the metaphor. It claims a similarity of relationships.” With this definition in mind, let us look at an ideal example of a Double-Duty sentence.

G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was a prolific English writer who published works on philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics and fiction, including detective stories. He is best known today for his creation of the great crime solver and Roman Catholic priest Father Brown, who stared in 52 short stories. Father Brown could not be more different than the sharp, quick-witted detectives of the Golden Age. He was a short, plump, round, umbrella-totting, insignificant looking man with plain features and clumsy manners. Yet, he was able to solve crimes using his keen common sense and understanding of human nature. Below is the first sentence from Chesterton’s Father Brown story titled, The Doom of the Darnaways:

Two landscape-painters stood looking at one landscape, which was also a sea-scape, and both were curiously impressed by it, though their impressions were not exactly the same.

This is a Double-Duty sentence because it manifests the truth that each and every person sees the world differently, even when standing side-by-side another person, looking at the same thing. The meaning of this sentence raises it far above a mere description of the first scene of the story and places it on the pedestal that holds the truths of life.
Give your stories greater depth and richer meaning by incorporating a Double-Duty sentence. Don’t overdo it—one per story is enough. You’ll find that readers will take notice and clamor for more.
For further information on G. K. Chesterton and his remarkable life, refer to: