Freshest metaphor you have used?


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Thread: Freshest metaphor you have used?

  1. #1

    Freshest metaphor you have used?

    One of the hints I give (on my website which you can find) for writing metaphoricals is to use new things in our culture and language. I saw one today that made my jaw drop.

    Have you ever done this? What is the freshest metaphorical you have used based on modern culture?

    Example: He was talking about the chaos he thought was coming and wrote:

    So, put your tray-table up in the upright and locked position. It’s going to be a tough fall.
    (The actual truth of this, or even the intended topic, is irrelevant. The author is Peter Hotez, he was talking about covid, and that's just his opinion.)
    English is a good language for people who like to be creative and expressive, not for people who want words to fit into boxes and stay there.

    Hidden Content -- Hidden Content

  2. #2
    Frederick lit a cigarette and put on an electrode-studded helmet from his pile of gadgets. He flipped a switch on its back, found a USB device, and plugged it into a laptop. Its screen crackled to life and he touched a program’s shortcut.

    “The helmet seems a little... much,” Dzesika said.

    “Streamlines information. We humans are visual creatures, right? Especially the unfair sex. It takes swaths of data and projects them, unfolds them, great neon origami.” He smiled, found a controller and plugged its jack in.
    From today's writing.
    Last edited by Joker; August 8th, 2020 at 02:55 PM.
    Currently working on: The Huntsmage

    "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." - Robert Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

  3. #3
    I was impressed with a song by Bob Dylan that he recorded shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. “Thunder in the Alley” I think is the title. He has a refrain, “the levy’s gonna break.” The song isn’t about the hurricane, it’s about a relationship but he uses all these images from the resent disaster to illuminate the feeling of the stormy relationship.

  4. #4
    Dunno. I think it depends on how one defines "fresh." "Fresh" as in "based on current events" would date a work, I'd think, so I'm disinclined to do such things. I've referenced some pop culture in literary comparisons, but I can't recall any super recent ones. Alf, Clark Kent, Godzilla, various board and card games (Monopoly, Clue, Bicycle cards, Mousetrap, Life). Lots of literary allusions (Poe, Lovecraft, Dante, JM Barrie, Lewis Carroll, HG Wells, Carlos Collodi, Harlan Ellison, e. e. cummings, The Holy Bible, L. Frank Baum) and references to artists like H R Giger and Hieronymus Bosch. Some more modern cars wound up in interesting extended metaphors and symbolism--including the Dodge Viper, a Mazda Miata and a Dodge Demon. I've done a lot of metaphors and symbolism with Cold War imagery and themes.
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

    "Art is life, just add bull****."
    --Chris Miller

  5. #5
    I love a strong, contemporary metaphor. That one you use is a good example: vivid, powerful, relatable, relevant. My examples? Hmm, I dunno. I try and use some in all my writing, even on this site. I , uh, I scrape my whitebread prose with tabasco images and words formed from raw wasabi. Hmm. Yeah. I dunno. I probably love them a little too much.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    The first cut don't hurt at all
    The second only makes you wonder
    The third will have you on your knee
    s
    - Propaganda, "Duel"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous








  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    One of the hints I give (on my website which you can find) for writing metaphoricals is to use new things in our culture and language. I saw one today that made my jaw drop.

    Have you ever done this? What is the freshest metaphorical you have used based on modern culture?
    It's a great idea! However, I scoured through the 50k+ words of my first draft and realized I don't use them. Do you think that is a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    I love a strong, contemporary metaphor. That one you use is a good example: vivid, powerful, relatable, relevant. My examples? Hmm, I dunno. I try and use some in all my writing, even on this site. I , uh, I scrape my whitebread prose with tabasco images and words formed from raw wasabi. Hmm. Yeah. I dunno. I probably love them a little too much.
    So you try to use them, in other words, they don't flow naturally? And when you do, what is the result you are looking for? What effect do you wish it to have on the reader? I guess if I understood this better, I might make more of an effort to use them.
    Sometimes in the waves of change we find our new direction...
    - unknown

  7. #7
    Using metaphors out of context or using mixed metaphor is a sure way to make your writing sound forced or contrived. For instance, something like "he dropped the ax and did the soft shoe out of there".
    Metaphors work best when they fit the context built into the story and the images are consistent, building on each other to form a unified metaphor which is called a "conceit" - an extended metaphor. A whole story can be a conceit, like Animal Farm by George Orwell, or The Emporer's New Clothes.


    S

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    So you try to use them, in other words, they don't flow naturally? And when you do, what is the result you are looking for? What effect do you wish it to have on the reader? I guess if I understood this better, I might make more of an effort to use them.
    Ermm ... I guess what I mean is I try to use them as opposed to not troubling to use them. As to whether they come naturally or whether I consciously put them together, it’s both. If one shows up ready rolled I try it, otherwise I’ll think for a bit and come up with something. I like the impact they add, the richness they contribute to descriptions and voice.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    The first cut don't hurt at all
    The second only makes you wonder
    The third will have you on your knee
    s
    - Propaganda, "Duel"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous








  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    It's a great idea! However, I scoured through the 50k+ words of my first draft and realized I don't use them. Do you think that is a problem?

    So you try to use them, in other words, they don't flow naturally? And when you do, what is the result you are looking for? What effect do you wish it to have on the reader? I guess if I understood this better, I might make more of an effort to use them.
    The idea of using metaphors is that they work by association. What this means is it gets the reader's mind working laterally instead of linearly. When the mind works laterally it starts to make connections across concepts that don't necessarily appear congruent. But in that incongruence you can expand the meaning of a concept by showing how one idea is embodied in another even when they are not apparently connected. It means that you can represent an idea through an image. You don't have to explain the idea. Take John Lennon's classic line, "Happiness in a warm gun." That's a huge metaphor in five words. He's taking an abstract concept like "happiness " which would take thousands of pages to define and he associates it with something that we would never normally think of when we think of happiness. But in doing so he is saying something enormous about the concept of happiness. He saying that happiness happens after you shoot somebody. He's saying that happiness is an ego trip that requires getting something over on somebody. You may not agree with that. Or maybe Lennon was talking about certain kinds of people. Regardless, it says volumes about what happiness is.

  10. #10
    I avoid metaphors unless I am sure they are 100% perfect. Unless they can completely justify their presence by providing something important beyond 'mere description', I generally get rid of them. This is because I find myself prone to overuse otherwise and basically find them pretentious and annoying.

    I think the effectiveness of imagery is often pretty personal and therefore variable, as TL Murphy alluded to, which is another reason not to use them to much and to only use them when we think there's a pretty small chance of the metaphor being misunderstood or falling flat.

    I think no more than 2 metaphors/similes per 5,000 words is probably a good range.
    Last edited by luckyscars; August 10th, 2020 at 06:54 AM.

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