1. MarkArellius
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    MarkArellius Member

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    Metaphor Ideas

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MarkArellius, Jul 17, 2012.

    I am writing some story's and I could use some funny examples of metaphors.

    I need something for;

    ~ A stomach ache, a metaphor of how it feels after you've eaten bad food.

    ~ How awkward it would feel if you are known as the person taking a dump in a club.

    ~ What its like when a lady doesn't call you back for the so-many'th-time.

    Just these for now, thanks :)
     
  2. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Not metaphors so much, just a little playing around.


    "His stomach burned. The chicken from lunch was churning inside him like lava threatening to erupt, and when it blew he suspected it might take his head with it!"

    "Everyone stared at him. Why? He felt like the man who'd just been caught stinking up the place - except that it was worse than that."

    "He stared at the phone, angered by its silence. Could it be disconnected? Or had she disconnected him?"

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  3. MarkArellius
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    MarkArellius Member

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    Heeeey number 1 and 3 have something, this is great, thanks ! :)
    If you (or anyone) has anymore ideas feel free to put'm here..
     
  4. Morkonan
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    Morkonan Senior Member

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    Instead of offering one, I'll tell you how to create one. Teach a man to fish...

    Start off by how you want to characterize the stomach. That's easy. Is it a person, place or thing? Not hard, right? But, the secret is to be.. metaphorical. So, what makes a good metaphor, here? What makes a good metaphor for each noun?

    Person - An angry mother-in-law. A policeman. A Judge, Jury or Executioner. A lunatic. A claims processor at an insurance company. An angry restaurant customer. A baseball player.

    So, pick one of these or come up with one of your own. Now, whoever they are, they must react, feel or otherwise do something.. metaphorically consistent with what it is you wish to portray. The stomach is aching, so how to these people portray that?

    An angry mother-in-law might curse you or, better yet, let's get physical! It is physicality you're going for here, after all. So, an angry mother-in-law might look at you and twist up a dishrag until it crackled. Write that as a metaphor for your "stomach ache." A policeman might pull you over and give you a ticket. Your stomach might force you over to the side of the road, as well. It might even "punch your ticket" if the food you ate was bad enough. See where I'm headed, here? Invent a type of person and have them do something that is sufficiently descriptive to communicate how the stomach feels to the character. That handles the "person" part.

    The "place" part is the same. Invent a place. A desert. A stormy sea. An iron bucket. A swamp. The x-ray machine at an airport. Etc... Have it "do" or "experience" something that effectively communicates the metaphor. So, the stomach might feel like someone dropped a load of iron in a desert - Interesting, but sure to get a bit uncomfortable in a few minutes.

    The "thing?" Well, you should have a handle on the process, by now. So, give it a try. :D Create a thing that is having something done to it, is doing something or is somehow involved in portraying something uncomfortable. Keep trying until you come up with something that works. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, after all.

    What's embarrassing? Awkward is, after all, something that denotes embarrassment. What sort of person, place or thing could be "embarrassed" if it was anthropomorphized, if not already human? What would embarrass a... fish? Being caught without scales? (Yeah, I know, bad metaphor for that. But, I only have so much time. :D ) Personally, I don't find the idea of having been known to take a "dump" at a club as particularly awkward. At least, not awkward enough to devote a metaphor to it. That seems to be overdoing the whole idea of metaphors, anyway. Let the character worry about "swamp butt" a bit and drop the idea of using the heavy hand of metaphor for this instance.

    Hard to say without appropriate context. In other words, few metaphors I could give you would be appropriate. Does the character feel used? Strangely happy? Emotionally tortured? What's the context? No, don't answer that. Instead, grab a person, place or thing and then muck around with it experiencing, doing or thinking something until your new metaphor "works."
     
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  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Morkonan - I love your fish caught without scales idea :D Never thought to do metaphors this way, thanks for the tip! I have a hard time being funny in my writing - it always comes out wrong. *runs off to give it a go*
     
  6. MarkArellius
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    MarkArellius Member

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    Yeah Markonan, I see where your going with this and it's also a new way of thinking for me, also what I need :)

    With the ''taking a dump in the club'' thing is more like; Your in a club bathroom and the toilet is always busy with guys using urinals and practicaly nobody takes a dump in them over here, people would bang at the door, make embarrasing comments when you come out and another guy in the club might ask; ''Hey man, what the f*ck did you eat ? That was one nasty load !'' And that when your walking past and him being surrounded by cute girls, something like that to make it feel awkward.
    I always thought that you could be (or the character) embarrased by waliing out of the open toilet and have all the guys stare at you as soon as you opened that door again stinking the place out. Kind of a broad explanation but you get the idea I guess..
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    mark...
    no offense intended, but how do you expect to be a writer, if you can't come up with your own metaphors?
     
  8. MarkArellius
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    MarkArellius Member

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    None taken mammamaia, I understand where you are coming from.
    I only seek inspiration, I sometimes work with a ''take and develop'' method.

    I would not literally take what is written here of course :)
    When psychotik only mentioned ''erupt'' and Morkonan came up with the idea of thinking how things would be..
    psychotik's volcano eruption (natural disaster) together with looking at things with a different perspective like Markonan advised I came up with;

    ''My stomach hurt [or] rumbling so much it felt like an earthquake on magnitude 6 !''

    I'm also looking for similes, metaphors and similes look nearly alike to me. I kinda understand the difference, being bi-lingual has its own issues :p
     
  9. Morkonan
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    Morkonan Senior Member

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    That's a good point.

    But, since this is a Writing Forum, it's also the very type of thing aspiring writers might want to ask about. An accomplished author would have no need for such instruction, while one that is still learning would be hungry for it. Still, I've seen the work of plenty of published authors that proved they're terrible at creating interesting metaphors. It's sad, really. Language is such a beautiful thing and it would make sense that any author would want to paint with an interesting flare, rather than use a tired brush.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Good writing habits should be encouraged from the start. Bad writing habits should be discouraged just as quickly.
     
  11. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Great comments Morkonan. I think I'll find your strategy useful.
    I'm like Mark in that sometimes I need to hear some ideas to get my own brain working. I suppose sometimes needing help to get started is a weakness I have as a writer (I have many) but I won't let my need to ask for help stop me from pushing forward.
     
  12. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    I like the idea of thinking in terms of the person/place/thing and relating it back to the context. I think writers sort of do this anyway when they create metaphors but I like seeing it written down like that - makes it seem simpler and can give inspiration when a good metaphor is needed.
     
  13. Morkonan
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    Morkonan Senior Member

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    You're very welcome!

    It's often the case that a writer can't see the pages for the text. You have to step away and get a fresh perspective in order to let new thoughts rise to the top of the bowl, as it were. Sure, not many people can sling about metaphors like a pro. But, even the pros put in a lot of work coming up with their little gems.

    One thing I think people interested in metaphors have to remember - We don't forget the good ones.

    A mind like a steel trap, a heart of iron, the brains of a bag of hammers... These metaphors stick with us because they're darn good! We remember them because they strike a particular nerve and have a lot of cultural meaning wrapped up in them that speaks to us much more than the individual words, themselves. We have so many good metaphors already that it's very hard to think up new ones! So, don't get frustrated that everything you think of has already been used by someone else. Just keep plugging away and stay secure in the knowledge that everything has already been written anyway. The only thing you can do is write it differently and metaphors aren't any exception to that.
     
  14. MarkArellius
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    MarkArellius Member

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    Excellent comments I love to read !
    I'm not even on this forum a week and already getting to know more, little by little, about writing.
    It will take me a long long time to find my style of writing and which audience I want to target exactly, however this is a good start.

    Either metaphors or similes, I would like to create some gems of my own and this forum (to me) can be used as a good source of inspiration. Like brainstorming for a new theatre play :)
     
  15. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Avoid the cliched metaphors, unless you're trying to depict a character who is mired in cliche -- and even then, have a care. A cliched metaphor is an eyesore. [​IMG]
     
  16. Lightman
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    Lightman Active Member

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    Never force a metaphor or simile. If something doesn't come to you naturally, don't take that as license to call forth some ridiculous demonic creature from the pits of metaphorical Hell.
     
  17. Morkonan
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    Morkonan Senior Member

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    I've read several short stories that intentionally used terrible metaphors to evoke humor through absurdity. Some noted authors have written some really wonderful, yet completely absurd, pieces. One that comes to mind is "The Stone Thing" by Michael Moorcock. It pokes fun at heroic fantasy and while not exactly using absurd metaphors, it grabs absurd "fantastic" references and has its way with them. A bundle of laughs, to be sure.

    You know, a thread that was devoted to "absurd metaphors" might be very entertaining and instructive, as well.
     
  18. MarkArellius
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    MarkArellius Member

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    Thanks guys, these tips are helpfull..
    Lightman, I like that metaphor :) Or is it a simile ?
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a simile will point out a 'similarity' so it's easy to differentiate between one and a metaphor...

    his smile was like the cheshire cat's
    the dawn came up like thunder
    it was hot as hell in there

    those are all similes... notice that they all contain 'like' or 'as'... a metaphor won't:

    her madonna smile lit up the whole room
    the moon's a balloon
    the sun bathed the wheatfields in a golden glow
     
  20. MarkArellius
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    MarkArellius Member

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    While I was writng just now I caught the difference, now I understand it completely.
     
  21. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Yes, a metaphor is an implied comparison; in a simile the comparison is made explicit. The well-chosen metaphor rewards the thoughtful reader, by allowing him to plumb the comparison. A simile is usually more direct, and because of that more limited.
     

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