1. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Incorporating metaphors into writing.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Youniquee, Dec 1, 2010.

    I'm not good at it..or metaphors in general. When writing do you need to use metaphors?
    How should I go about this?
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mine happen by accident - I never intend them - just aim for a good story

    Don't think I have ever read a bloody good story, put the book down and thought you know what there aren't enough metaphors in that.

    It is a different kind of writing - do you like to read literary fiction? If you do then that is great if not write a good story.
     
  3. flanneryohello
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    flanneryohello Member

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    If, during the course of telling your story, it works to use a metaphor, then great. But to specifically aim to include them, whether or not the story calls for it? That's totally unnecessary. Writing fiction isn't like completing a school assignment. There are no requirements or criteria. Figure out the story you want to tell, and write it. All the reader really expects is for you to make your prose readable and (hopefully) compelling.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i have to agree in principle with flannery...

    how much good fiction do you read?... look over a few novels by well-respected authors and see how they use metaphors, similes and other artistic goodies...
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Metaphors just happen, more to some people than to others. I have a roommate who's one of the most amazing talkers I've ever heard, and he talks in metaphors all the time. He swims, metaphorically speaking, in an ocean of metaphors.

    The problem that he has, and that many inexperienced writers have, is that the metaphors chosen are not exactly appropriate. You have to be careful that the metaphors say exactly what you intend.
     
  6. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    Write what you feel and don't worry about the metaphors. What you need will present itself at the point you are writing it. Don't think in terms of metaphor but that you need to describe things. In doing so, metaphors will just surface. I think it comes out bad and forced if you try to do it.
     
  7. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    My quite verbose friends and I speak jokingly in metaphors all the time. How good are you at similies? They're pots and kettles. Pretty much in the same category, but rather different. See what I did there ;)?
     
  8. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Write it and they will come.

    (Or, at least, people will read them into your stories whether you intended or not.)

    -Frank
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOL totally agree with Frank people reading my work see metaphors that I didn't put there. My character in my time travel did not do anything metaphoric when he threw the alarm clock in the first line - he grabbed the nearest thing and threw it :)
     
  10. Celia.
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    Celia. Senior Member

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    Mine just kind of happen haha
     
  11. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    The term "metaphor" is rather vague and can mean lots of different things.

    Linguistic metaphors aren't hard to use. We do it all the time without thinking about it. Eg, "Her hair danced in the wind." Hair can't really dance, it's just a metaphor for how it moved.
     
  12. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    You never need to use them. Your writing voice might be a very direct, plain-speaking one. You need to be aware of them, though, because they're deeply embedded in our language and can jump out and bite you if you make them angry by mixing them.
     
  13. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    Are we talking about metaphors or symbolism that runs throughout the story?
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how so?...

    lots?... such as what?

    fyi: from dictionary.com

     
  15. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are quite a few linguists, for example, that consider all language (and indeed all semiological systems) to be inherently metaphorical: the word "cat" is a metaphor for the animal. That's not particularly relevant to writers, but writers do need to be careful of words that started as what we would normally think of as metaphors but where we have forgotten that origin. Fowler gives the example of "It is impossible to crush the governments aim
    to restore the means of living and working freely". "Crush" and "aim" are both metaphors, and either would be fine on its own, but put them together and some people will worry that you can't crush an aim. For other readers one or other metaphor will be so well and truly dead that they will see no problem.
     

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