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How to create a metaphor practice, part 2

In my last post, I wrote about the benefits of starting a metaphor practice and gave one exercise for doing so (by using a template from a writer you admire). Below is another exercise to add to your metaphor or simile practice:

Make a List: Find a spot where you think a metaphor might work in a scene and write down the subject. Example: As I write my scenes, I can usually tell when a metaphor or simile will add spark to my page. In my last scene, I wanted a simile to describe how a house looked from the outside at night. So I wrote down the subject “house lit up.” 

Next to your subject, write a list of things you could compare it to. Write down EVERYTHING that pops into your head—even the thing that seems silly or most obvious or cliché. If you don’t write it down, it will be bouncing around in your brain blocking the good stuff from getting out.

Next to my subject of “house lit up,” I wrote several things including space ship, star, and lodestar. This is the simile I ended up with for my scene: “The door to the lighthouse was the only entrance that wasn’t lit up like a lodestar.”

Another way to use this practice is to think about some of the images you have in your scenes or would like to have and make a list of them. Then do the exercise above looking for metaphors that are organic to your scene or theme.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. I really enjoyed your last metaphor exercise. Using the opening metaphor from Gibson’s Neuromancer made it challenging as it’s such a specific metaphor, but that added to the brain-stretching fun. Will definitely give this one a try later today, see what inspiration it sparks.

    February 19, 2014

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