"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)


Similes and Metaphors

Hello!... (hello)... (hello)...


My apologies for neglecting my poor blog for so long.  Health and other issues had me rather sidetracked for awhile.  The writer in me has NOT been happy.  I've decided I must give my writing a lot more attention.

Yesterday I wrote a poem.  For the first time in over a decade.  It wasn't great, but it wasn't that bad, either.  I had a friend ask to read it, and he was very complimentary.  He then asked if I would help him learn to write poetry.  My first thought was, whoa, you don't learn how to write poetry -- you just do it!  But then I realized there are some tips and exercises that could be helpful in awakening your inner poet.

So, I agreed to help him out, and I thought this would be a great place for me to do it.  If you'd like to join in the creative writing fun, please feel free to jump in!  Any comments and suggestions are of course welcome.

When searching the internet for ideas on how to proceed, I found a lot of information on structure, meter, rhyme schemes, and the different types of poems.  It sounded good, if you were looking for nuts and bolts information.  But to me, poetry is about finding the exact right voice to put your emotions into words.  Before you start to look at mechanics, I think you need to learn the language of poetry.

Poetry uses a lot of symbolism and imagery.  You say one thing when you really mean another.  The easiest way to do that is to use similes and metaphors.

Both similes and metaphors are used to compare two like things.  A simile uses the words "like" and "as" to make the comparison.  A metaphor makes the comparison by stating something "is" the other thing.

The trick to effective creative writing is choosing a simile or metaphor that is not cliche -- not overused or obvious.  When trying to find the right comparison, the first thing that pops into your head is not likely to be the best or most expressive.  Dig deeper, brain storm a little bit, write down everything that comes into your mind.  Your best simile or metaphor is probably going to be your third, fourth, or even fifth choice.

For example, when I say, "It was as dark as..."

What do you automatically think of?  I bet you thought "night," didn't you?  I did.  However, in one creative writing class, a young girl came up with "dark as a secret."  Oooh, how good is that?  I love the feeling it elicits.  There is nothing darker than my secrets.

So, here's a little practice for you.  I'm going to write a series of adjectives, and I'd like you to come up with your best similes and metaphors.  Leave them in the comments section.  And if I don't get very many participants, then it's my own dang fault for neglecting my blog for so long.