1. anitaex100
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    anitaex100 New Member

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    How to turn a familiar simile into something brand new

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by anitaex100, Sep 11, 2016.

    I had this sentence where I wanted to write a simile for how eerily quiet the room was, and the first thing that came to mind was the room was as silent as a tomb. I'm pretty sure that the phrase has been done a few times, so I was wondering if there is some way of changing it up. How do you make something new out of something that has been done before?
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you working in a different setting? Like, fantasy or scifi? If so, it's easy to substitute their version of "a really quiet space" for tomb.

    In our world? I guess you'd just have to think of something that fits your setting.
     
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  3. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Welcome to the site!
    The POV protagonist of the novel I'm working on tends to make two similes at the same time – "sunnier outside than a tanning salon in Arizona," "guy sounds like a snake hissing into a tank of Helium," "yawning is more viral than a Facebook page for the smallpox" – would something like that work? Maybe "quieter than a mime graveyard"?

    BTW I'm using that if you don't :D

    You're yawning right now, aren't you?
     
  4. anitaex100
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    anitaex100 New Member

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    I absolutely love your similes, Simpson, but I need something that shows how quiet the hallway was in a spooky way. I know I said room, but I meant hallway and yes, it's in the fantasy/science fiction genre.
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    So is it fantasy or scifi?

    In fantasy, what kind of world are you working with? The last fantasy I wrote was set in a vaguely medieval, atheist, totally militaristic world, so all of their swear words and other idioms were based around that world. Their insults were all based on people being cowardly or useless in battle, etc. If they were going to have an idiom for "very quiet" it might be something like "quiet as the field after the battle and before the vultures" or "quiet as the coals of a pyre" or something. Try to base your idioms on things it would make sense for your characters to say.
     
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  6. anitaex100
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    anitaex100 New Member

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    Try to base your idioms on things it would make sense for your characters to say.
    Thanks, Bayview. My characters live on another planet, but their ancestor came from Earth so they're familiar with the terminology from Earth. My book does have some medieval elements with a king and queen and a castle. I think if I were to compare it to another novel. Somewhere between Kiera Cass's book the Selection and Marissa Meyer's book Cinder. Although I am nowhere near as good as those ladies, my novel has some similarity. Thanks again for the help. I'll take your advice to heart.
     
  7. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    I like @Simpson17866 's 'double' trick :) A couple of other simile/metaphor tricks:
    • Start with the opposite of what your comparison figure is: e.g. 'Calm Like a Bomb' (Rage Against the Machine song), 'But the tigers come at night | With their voices soft as thunder' ('I Dreamed a Dream' from Les Miserables). So you could have something like, 'The hallway contained all the sonic intensity of a furious snail'.
    • End with something that's usually the opposite of your intended meaning, but placed in a context that makes it fit. E.g. 'The corridor was as quiet as an electric guitar without an amplifier'.
    Or you could combine the two. 'The hallway was as noisy as a troop of monkeys being digested by a lion.'

    It's easy to be funny with them (still not easy enough for me though, apparently...), but you don't have to be. The cognitive dissonance involved makes the reader pay attention --> poignancy. I wouldn't treat any of these tricks as an end-goal in their own right, but having them in your brainstorming arsenal will help you find something with as nice a ring to it as Saturn (there's another one: the pun-simile) :)

    Good luck!
     
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  8. Elven Candy
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    Elven Candy Contributing Member

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    If you want it to be spooky, may I suggest you add an element in the simile that your characters think is spooky? Like "quieter than a cave of dead bats." Bats and caves tend to be associated with spooky, so it could work. Take something your characters are scared or creeped out of, and turn it into a simile.
     
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  9. anitaex100
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    anitaex100 New Member

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    Thanks, everyone! I love those ideas you have all given me.
     
  10. OurJud
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