Friday, April 15, 2011

M = Metaphors
I collect metaphors. If you've ever read any of my writing you might have noticed them sprinkled liberally about willy-nilly. 

I know this isn't class 101, but I'll just give an example of a metaphor: the mind is a barren soul; I wonder when motor-mouth is going to run out of gas? (Who said that? Put your hand up right now!)

And just one other quickie: don’t mix metaphors. I’m sure this is old hat to you but for goodness sake don’t write: As we consider the road that unfolds before us. Hmm… I wonder who said that?

I spend a lot of time thinking up metaphors and I always note them down in one of my trusty notebooks - all ten thousand of them and never the one I need at any given moment. Take a look at these: 

-         She gave him the full wattage of her smile
-         The town clung onto the hillside by its finger-tips
-         He’s a boil on the backside of humanity
-         My mouth is drier than Ghandi’s flip-flops

Here's one to titillate your palate: The Times Restaurant Critic A.A. Gill once described a cheese and onion tart as snot in a box

And from Forrest Gump: Mama always said life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.

Metaphors add color to poetry and prose, just don’t mix them and don’t overdo them. 

Do you have any favorite or original metaphors?


  1. I always have to google the difference between metaphor, analogy, or simile. For some reason a metaphor always seems longer in my mind- like a story where the passage across the river is a metaphor for passing into death or other such rot. Fun post! Thanks for stopping by!!

  2. I never thought of writing them down in a notebook before. What a great idea. I like: "the town clung onto the hillside by its finger-tips."

    Though I'm not sure that's technically a metaphor, more of a kick-butt awesome description.

  3. Thanks Katie. Here's a good explanation of the three:

    Angela, you're right! I like anything that's kick-butt.

  4. Oh how I wish I thought in metaphor, but it doesn't come naturally to me and I struggle with it in my writing. And I'm still not sure I get the example of the mixed metaphor. Thanks for the 101

  5. I love that chocolate metaphor from Forrest Gump. I've got a notebook with similar ideas in. It's fun making up your own, isn't it. Better than using other people's.

  6. I wish I thought in metaphor too Karen, I have to think them up. Oh the mixed metaphor? A road doesn't "unfold", it winds ahead. A story unfolds, for example.
    Rosalind, I hope you don't make my mistake and write things in notebooks you then lose, only to find them weeks later when it's too late.

  7. It was the mourning of a day and I sat graveside. I softly caressed the silky flowertops of my childrens children and remembered my own youth as they lowered the casket into the ground.

    Is that what you mean? Lots of them there. I have a tendency to overkill..LOL!

  8. I love metaphors--especially when they're used humorously in dialogue. :D

  9. I'm afraid my brain does filter most things through metaphor. Always has. I can get carried away, though, and reach too far sometimes. Still, I love me some metaphor, and appreciate an author who can make it work.

  10. I try to use metaphors in my novels.It's hard work, but whenever I come up with one, I feel like I've accomplished something great. :) have a happy weekend!.

  11. Don't mix metaphors, as in Life is Like a Box of Snot. You never know where it came from? That what you mean? I am glad you did metaphors because they are so well suited to colorful writing.

  12. Snot in a box? OMG, that's hilarious! I also love metaphors (although I get metaphors and similes mixed up...doh!)

  13. Golden Eagle - I must say I'm a metaphor addict.
    LG - you're lucky, but you're right you can get carried away. Too much of a good thing I suppose
    Nutschell - Me too, if inspiration hits with a decent unusual metaphor I'm over the moon.
    Jeanne - Life is like a box of snot (oh dear!) - that's a simile actually. A simile always uses the words "like" or "as" "as" - example: "He had a face like a toilet seat" :)

    Julie - A.A. Gill is famous for his metaphors. They're mostly hurtful too!

    Thanks for commenting everyone. Have a great weekend.


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