1. TianaRapley
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    TianaRapley New Member

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    Help! Coming up with metaphors and descriptions!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TianaRapley, Jul 5, 2011.

    Okay, my story needs a lot of help, but what I'm really having trouble with is descriptions, similes, metaphors, etc.

    Any suggestions on how to come up with new and interesting descriptions? Looking over my novel, I use the same words to describe things, and it's making my writing come across as quite bland.

    It's also driving me a little insane!

    Any help would be really appreciated!

    Thanks.
     
  2. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    if you're using the same word to describe things there's nothing more satisfying then getting a thesaurus and learning new words :] (ok, maybe there are more satisfying things in life than that lol)

    also, there are many websites where they describe common places for you, the sound, smell, look of that place, for example a library, a park, etc. look them up! :D

    hope this helps
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is hard to answer without an example of your writing. But I'd also say that going out of your way to find metaphors, similes, etc., may be a mistake. If they come naturally, that's one thing, but if they're forced, they're likely to feel forced.

    One thing to keep in mind is that metaphors and similes on't have to be misty big-vocabulary poetic things that you'd never be caught dead using in real life. "Her eyes were like a limpid rippling star-sprinkled pool of moonlight" is a (really bad) simile, but so is, "these brownies have the texture of bicycle tires". For that matter, an awful lot of insults use similes.

    As for descriptions.. OK, again, I need examples.

    ChickenFreak
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you don't see a metaphor in something you are describing, don't force it. It will beobvious if you do.

    Not everyone views the world in terms of the abstractions that metaphors arise from. If you aren't one of those people, metaphor and simile are probably not a part of your voice.
     
  5. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    I agree--using different words is a good thing, in that you shouldn't be repetitive, but forcing metaphors and similes ends up sounding like a beginning creative writer in a high school class.
    However, some food for thought. If you want a decent simile or metaphor, look up cliches online and then try to avoid using them. Then ask yourself what your protagonist naturally would perceive; what kind of simile would he/she make? Also, it's fun to look up absurd similes that writers have used in the past just for a laugh, to see how far out of hand things can go. I forget the "award" name given to those who create the worst similes... Then go to some of your favorite books and re-read the descriptions. The metaphors are likely not popping up everywhere, mucking up the whole thing, but they're simple, clean, and they evoke some kind of emotion.

    Bottom line: study the worst, study the best and then work from there.
     
  6. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm assuming you are thinking in terms of the narrator descriptions. So my first question is ... why do you feel the need to add metaphors and simile? Are you just thinking they are necessary for the story? They are not. You can provide bright, clear descriptions without getting caught up in grade school English class lessons in how much better your writing would be with a metaphor here and a simile there and let's throw in a personification down yonder just for good measure.

    If the language tools such as metaphor, etc. flow naturally, let them come. If not, don't stress it. It will only make your writing sound affected and artificial. Not what you want.
     
  7. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Use metaphors that come from the story, not from just an abstract idea of what's nice to you. What would someone in the story compare a thing to? This works in any medium - tough manly metaphors comparing things to guns and blood and women in tough manly novels, metaphors and similies all about shoes and designers in awful chick lit, and metaphors relating to the mythology of a fantasy series. Once you have the idea of what parameters you're working in it's a lot easier than sitting around waving a hand vaguely thinking, "need flowery language..."
     
  8. KingEnthusiasm
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    KingEnthusiasm New Member

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    Give us a bland scene. We creatives will punch it up.:D
     
  9. Batgoat
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    Batgoat Senior Member

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    Chances are, what you perceive to be bland might not even be bland at all. If you're anything like me, you're your worst critic.
     

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