Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

Trust Your Writing: Similes & Metaphors

Trust Your Writing: Similes & Metaphors

Recently I read a book that disappointed me. Don’t you hate when you finish a novel and you want your time back? I do.

It disappointed me because the writer didn’t trust their own words. For example if a woman (female protagonist) is

If you liked this TWEET IT OUT! Thanks, Mindy

If you liked this TWEET IT OUT! Thanks, Mindy

standing in the pouring rain holding her dead child, that raw image should be left to stand on its own; it needs no simile and no metaphor to strengthen it. We get it.

But sadly, this author felt the need to consistently stretch those images out with similes that distracted from and diluted the scene, and eventually, the story. Don’t do that. Trust your writing.

Use similes and metaphors sparingly – they’re wonderful literary devices, but too many is like having too many tattoos or wearingname in tattoo too much make-up; you can no longer see the person.

ALSO, If a female protagonist has spent 300 pages yearning for her lover, the last chapter should not be 5 years later, it should be them reuniting in a hot mess of passion or at least a long glimpse across the train station that lets me know they’re gonna have the kind of night I can easily imagine. But to cheat the reader, me, out of a reunion after 300 pages of yearning, is in my book (pardon the pun) a Cardinal sin. Don’t cheat your readers. That’s like saying, “Here’s a box of truffles, but you can’t have one.” Not nice.

Don’t lead up to something that never happens, or happens off page, and then sum it up.NO! NO! NO! I want the damn truffles!

I’m so disappointed I’ll never read another book by that author. His storytelling capabilities are now suspect, at best. So, if you don’t want that to happen to your stories, then don’t cheat your readers out of the reunions, redemption, revenge or salvation that the entire story was building toward. Okay, I’m done venting. Have a nice day. Better yet, read a good book.

And check out this site on Literary Devices

3 comments on “Trust Your Writing: Similes & Metaphors

  1. thesarahdoughty
    December 30, 2015

    Well said. I can’t believe why authors do that. For me, I love urban fantasy, but always felt they lacked much in the romance department. At least the sexy bits. Those were always glossed over, and I hated that. That’s like dangling the truffle in the face of the reader, just enough to catch a whiff of it and then taking it away. When I wrote my books, I vowed to not do that. And I vowed to resolve issues (unless they’re necessary to continue the storyline in future books). So I definitely understand.

    • Mindy
      December 30, 2015

      Thanks for commenting, Sarah. I guess that’s why the old adage; to write a book you must read one hundred other books’ (or something like that) is true.
      We learn so much by reading other novels. Happy new year. Mindy

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