Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Metaphors

Happy hump-day, good people of the blogosphere! Today, we're back to writing tips and general lessons! It's all about the metaphor on this glorious Wednesday so grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going!

First off, a definition:
Metaphor: met·a·phor  /ˈmetəˌfôr/ Noun 1. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. 2. A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, esp. something abstract.


Well, we all know what it is, Jo. But how does one use it in writing? Great question!

A metaphor is saying something is something else (definition one). Using a metaphor is a skill that should be applied now and then. If you use it all the time, you're going to sound like you just stepped out of a Tim Burton film. While that may not be a bad thing, your readers will likely get lost.

Examples:
All around me, the trees were licorice ropes and the leaves were skillets.
That cat is a cow.
My father is a truck and my mother is a convertible sports car.

Notice none of these phrases have the words like or as. Those aren't metaphors, they're similes.

There's another way to use metaphors that many authors employ: Using things in the story to give a larger abstract idea (definition two). Say two of your characters are battling over a golden idol which, when held, brings the holder great wisdom. At the end, one person gives the idol to the other and walks away. Isn't that the greater wisdom? Your golden idol becomes part of a larger idea: wisdom and what makes one wise.

I hope this was a nice little refresher for you all.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

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