21 June 2012

Moving metaphors

Metaphors are essential for creating your story.  They help readers imagine your world and your characters.  This is also where you can fall accidentally into cliche.  Your metaphors must be fresh and they must be relevant.

In my current world there are no open bodies of water, so I can't really use any metaphors to do with waves, or the sea, or the sound of the sea.  So in a crowd situation I couldn't say "the sound roared over her like a wave".  I might try instead "the sound roared over her like rocks spilling down a slope".

Use the setting of your story to influence the metaphors you use.  If your story is by the beach, don't use "as cold as snow", try "as cold as the deepest sea".  Also think about the images you might want to bring into your story.  If your story is in a city, you might want to compare it to the tall trees of a forest, or to the loneliness of a desert, or the swarming life of a swamp.

Another good tip for practicing your metaphors is to read (or write) poetry.  Poetry is filled with strong and unusual metaphors, something that can be vital in your prose as well.


What do you do when you need to think of new metaphors for your work?




Amanda Fanger said...

Coming up with unique metaphors is something that I struggle with actually. That's where reading a lot really helps me. There's something about reading how other writers put stuff together that really helps me suddenly think up new stuff myself. These are all great points too - thanks, as always :)

Isa @ IsaByrne IndividualChic said...

Hey Amanda, glad you found some of these ideas useful. Thanks for visiting ^_^