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Thread: Metaphors and Similes

  1. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by moderan View Post
    and the handrail was as cold and wet as a toad's belly." -- Farewell, My Lovely
    I left her laughing. The sound was like a hen having hiccups.

    I was trying to look at Chandler's style. Um, the similes and metaphors like the above stand out. Past that, Chandler uses a variety of metaphoricals in a competent way. He seems to have good variety, I think because he was working so hard on making metaphoricals. That was my experience too, and I still recommend it.

    And, with no warning, one of the best metaphors I have ever read. Marlowe is miserable -- waking up in jail, he was doped, he was violently ill, he's weak. And we read:

    Time passed again. I don't know how long. I had no watch. They don't make that kind of time in watches anyway.
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  2. #62
    "...They don't make that kind of time in watches anyway"

    I love that bit particularly as it conjures up the different perspectives I've had on time over the years - like wishing it to pass faster when ill or wanting a moment to last forever. Yet it plods along at the same pace, oblivious to my or anyone's wishes.

  3. #63
    I've been working on this issue for the last month, and I posted 17 tips for writing better metaphors, similes, etc. It's all from a writer's perspective, designed to help you write better. You can find it in my signature space, trailing behind me like an imprinted duckling.

    Obviously, I am overjoyed to discuss any issues in writing or get any feedback. (Except I'm a little weary of discussing definitions.)
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  4. #64
    Member Arachne's Avatar
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    Oct 2018
    Beautiful Wiltshire, England
    Thank you Emmasohan, that prompted an interesting discussion which I enjoyed reading yesterday.

    I'd just like to add my thoughts, even though I'm a bit late.
    I think the main thing to remember with similes and metaphors is that less is more. This is the case for the frequency and the actual length. I don't think anybody wants to read a simile or metaphor every few minutes, as they can break the flow of the writing, dragging the reader out of the world you've worked to create. Plain prose, which is necessary to the story and is well written, allows the reader to stay absorbed, but a simile or metaphor jumps out and gets noticed. This is why, when you do decide to include one, you better make sure that it's really, really good. For me this includes being brief; a long metaphor just screams 'look at me,' and stands out like a sore thumb, dragging the reader out of the story. It shows the story as being over-written and is a big turn-off for me.

  5. #65
    Hi Arachne. Yeah, I was reading Ender's Game by Card and, first, was struck by how engaging it was. But it seemed light on metaphoricals. So they aren't essentially for good writing.

    And that suggested he had a reasons not to use metaphoricals -- there's cost. But still reasons to use them. I'm trying to think about the plusses and minuses.
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