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Uses of metaphors: Editor's Notes #235
May 15, 2017
Hello,

"Nearly always when I write fiction,
my imagination starts with real life and then turns aside into metaphor
— that poetic, indirect kind of storytelling common to all fantasists."

-- Susan Cooper


In this issue:

1. Uses of metaphors
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt

1. Uses of metaphors
A metaphor is a literary device in which a writer calls one thing by the name of another to show a similarity the reader has not probably thought of. Commonly used metaphors include phrases like flogging a dead horse, a moral compass, and the wheels of justice. These are so common that they have become cliches. But the first time someone used each of these phrases, a new thought was lit in other minds.

If you stop to think carefully about just the three examples I’ve given above, you will probably find new thoughts about the futility of repeated actions, the basis for moral judgements, and justice in general.

Good writing often includes metaphors. Like the valuable picture, one metaphor replaces many words. An apt metaphor opens the mind to new thoughts. It is especially helpful in making the unfamiliar less threatening. It creates a sensory experience where there may have been only an abstract argument before, and sensory writing feels reals and immediate. Metaphors can create an emotional reaction.

Here’s a little homework for you. Keep a list of metaphors you notice in the next two weeks. (You’ll get another issue of Edtior’s Notes in two weeks.) As you reveiw the list from time to time, let your mind wander around the metaphor. Noice how it enriches what the writer is saying.

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2.Tickled my funnybone
Energizer Bunny arrested: Charged with battery.

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3. Interesting Web site
Metaphors are only one literary device. This Web site lists and explains many others.
https://literarydevices.net/

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4. Writing prompt
If you have a writing project on the go, look for a place to add a metaphor. If you don’t have a project, choose a character, real or fictional, and create a metaphor to show a characteristic of that character.

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