We’ve talked about image detail, right? It is supported by well-chosen adjectives…ones that have sensory appeal. Image detail, character description and action in a story are also enhanced through the effective use of simile and/or metaphor. Let’s begin with simile.
Simile is an effective creative writing tool falling under the general heading of Figurative Language or Imagery. According to author/poet, Frances Mayes, from her book The Discovery of Poetry, “A figurative image establishes connections between things we normally would not associate.” It is “an explicit equation…using the words like, as, as if” to make comparisons. For example, we’ve all heard the similes “hungry as a horse,” or “timid as a mouse.” These are similes and they are also clichés. Clichés are oft-repeated, overused similes. You want to avoid clichés. Inventing original and effective similes is a fun art.
What is a predominant feeling for you today? If nothing comes to mind, borrow one from your experience…like being in love, or feeling angry or happy, tired or weepy.
Practice writing at least half a page of original similes emanating from your feeling. If your feeling is anger–“she was as angry as a disturbed hornet’s nest”. If the feeling is love, “she was in love like a bear with her fist in a honey pot.” Don’t forget to include the words like or as or as if in your simile.
Work with only one feeling…and that way you can get fully into the swing of both your feeling and writing your similes. One day, I was feeling very angry and I wrote a full page of similes expressing what my anger felt like. By the time I got to the bottom of the page, I was laughing. I felt very clever having come up with so many original similes and I shifted the energy of anger in a creative way.
See what happens for you as you try this one out.