1. essential life
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    essential life Member

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    Metaphors and figurative language

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by essential life, Nov 16, 2009.

    One thing I'm not into is using metaphors and other similar techniques in my writing. Maybe I just don't have the soul of a poet. I don't know. How necessary is it to use them? Are there many authors...professional authors...who aren't into that either?
     
  2. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I dont use a whole lot of metaphors. The ones I do I overuse.
     
  3. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Only if something seems too abstract in its own words, then I try and come up with a metaphor that adds some tangible imagery to the idea. Using metaphors just to try and sound more poetic is horrible, I think.
     
  4. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    George Martin, my favourite author, uses metaphors very selectively. Each time, they are perfect. In one of his books, there's a battle on a river where one side sets the water aflame with a substance like gasoline, but much more potent. He described the fire as a terrible green demon wielding a whip in each hand. The metaphor brought the image to life for me in a way that couldn't be accomplished by simply saying, "the fire seemed alive." The scene almost required a metaphor to do it justice. When I read that passage, I felt chills.

    You should use metaphors primarily for clarity, IMO. You shouldn't use them just to turn a bland passage into a flowery and verbose one. You'd just be replacing one problem with another, what some might call purple prose.

    When your writing calls for a metaphor, I think you'll know it. When you find yourself at a loss for how to describe something, a metaphor could be the answer. Until then, I'd say, don't bother. And you should never feel like you have to adopt any kind of stylistic practices, just because many others seem to. To force it would likely be a detriment to your writing.

    I use metaphors sparingly. . . sometimes not at all.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I often use metaphors and similes in my daily speech. I often use them in explanations, to make something technical clear to a non-tecnical person, or to someone whose expertise is in another field.

    I also use metaphors to accentuate the absurdity of events I see in the news or real life.

    When I write poetry, which isn't often, I rely heavily on metaphor. Often the entire poem is a metaphor, like The Siege, which I entered into one of the Poetry Competitions here.

    I use them to some extent in fiction, too, but I tone it back relative to my everyday speech. I'm probably unusual in using it less in writing than in everyday speech.
     
  6. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I tend to use similes more than metaphors, though I do use metaphors sometimes. And I hate most poetry. But, I do find uses for them to be applied in fiction.
     
  7. 67Kangaroos
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    67Kangaroos Contributing Member

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    i'm pretty sure i overuse the metaphor

    yeah, i'm that one... :(

    it's just one of my many, many fiction-writing sins :p

    though i think in my songwriting, it's just right ;)
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i never think about using metaphors, similes and the like, i just do it 'naturally'... or not at all... and i suspect most seasoned writers do the same...

    imo, it's not something that should be done 'on purpose' but only occur on its own, so to speak, as one writes... the result is that the reader is also not aware of the trope, only enjoys the words and what they 'say' to them...
     
  9. bruce
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    bruce Active Member

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    I use metaphors and other similar imagery techniques to evoke emotions in the reader.
     

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