Metaphor-3-2-1. Go.

I’ve been writing about comparisons. Similes and Hyperboles. There are many types of comparisons in writing. Today’s is Metaphors.  While technically Simile and Hyperbole are sub-types of Metaphors, Metaphors on their own are different.

Metaphors are figures of speech that make a hidden or implied comparison. Unlike similes that use words such as ‘like’ or ‘as’ Metaphors make a more subtle comparison.

A metaphor comparison is between two things that are unrelated but share some common characteristics.  What I mean is a resemblance is made between two different or contradictory objects that’s based off common characteristic.

When I portray an action, person, place or thing as being something altogether different. A well known example of this is “She is the black sheep of the family”.   The person is not actually a black sheep but a black sheep is different from the herd of white and would be kept or would stay away from the herd. Thus suggesting she is unlike everyone in her family in some obvious way.

Some more examples that are used often in literature:

He’s a night owl
Has the eyes of a hawk. (This could be a simile if written: ‘has eyes like a hawk.)
You’re an early bird. (Apparently I recall the bird metaphors easily…)
Lost in a sea of sorrow
The sound of coffee brewing is music to my ears

Metaphors are most commonly found in songs and poetry. Both try to convey a strong visual and emotional connection between two things in a creative way. I don’t write poetry as it’s not my strong suit so I’ll do what I do best. And I love me a good metaphor.

Valery chewed the hangnail on her finger as Cal took notes. “I don’t know what else to say Detective, Sasha’s life was an open book. She didn’t keep anything from me.” She frowned. “Except the nature of Baylor and her involvement with you.”

Cal looked up from the pad. Valery had no idea what they’ve been through and for good reason. It was a nightmare of events.  “Every bit helps. Finding the connection between your boss Clifton and Baylor Crowen is groundbreaking. Now I can investigate Clifton and see where his chains link up to.”

“Can we do anything? It’s frustrating to think he took her as a trophy.”

Cal stood. “With this information I can get a warrant for his computers personal and office. It will cause some disruption.”

“I’ll keep fishing around for information. I don’t care if they have to shut this place down Detective. My heart is broken over this. Please just find her.”

Cal nodded and swallowed hard. He lived with the stench of failure every waking moment. Had he been more aware; this wouldn’t be a problem. Sasha would still be with him and safe. “I’ll take the city apart brick by brick if I have to.”

Metaphors are easy to write if you remember to not use as or like as you would in a simile. They are passports to creativity. They do add a certain flavor to a story by improving the imagery one conjures when reading. I do think they can be hard to spot since so many writers use them. I know I do. I love them. If tucked away nicely they don’t jump out on the page, but add to the ease or flow.

My advice about Metaphors.
As writers, words are the windows to our souls.  Metaphors make dull sentences fly off the page. They splash our imaginations with imagery.


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