A great metaphor can jolt an image to life, bringing color to the scene of your story. Sometimes these metaphors flow spontaneously from our creative brains to our fingertips. But other times we get stuck and they sound forced. That’s when the reader stops reading because he doesn’t see the connection and you’re hosed. He’ll close the book. When in doubt, skip the metaphor.
But, in the meantime, practice writing them. Here’s an exercise that might help. I found it in Writing Fiction Step by Step, by Josip Novakovich.
Use nouns. Let me show you.
See this dog here? (I want him! Isn’t he cute?) Use the noun dog to make a metaphor.
The dog is a ______________. Use another noun to fill in the blank.
The dog is a navigator, eager to lead the way. Fill in the blank with ten different nouns. Pick your fave.
Let’s try again: The dog is a beast, hairy with claws and a guttural growl.
Once you’ve mastered this, move on to show likenesses.
Fido’s teeth are like _______________. The dog’s paws are like _________________.
Max’s breath is like _______________. The dog’s eyes are like __________________.
Stop and read your sentences aloud. Can you visual the comparisons? Do they interrupt the flow of your story?
For today’s challenge write a metaphor using the photo above.