Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Life moves pretty fast."

I've been writing for ages this morning about analogy and it all sounds very pompous and not the least bit interesting so I keep deleting it.  I love analogies and used to use them all of the time when teaching.  I think that when you have personal contact with your audience the analogy may be the most powerful tool available for communicating ideas quickly and accurately.  But they fall short if your audience doesn't have a reference point in the "C is to D" portion.

Some say Ferris was a metaphor and didn't actually exist.
I like metaphors too.  They scale wonderfully - you can have a simple metaphor like "The dog ran through the yard - a butterfly at last free of her cocoon - and Mel was jealous."  You can have a complex metaphor like the river in "A River Runs Through It".  An entire novel can be a metaphor, or a single line of poetry.  It's verbal symbolism in your writing.  Just don't over use them or 8th grade English classes will despise your work.  Sorry, Mr. Steinbeck.  (I really must reread "Grapes of Wrath" - it keeps being referenced in my reading.)

What I don't really care for are similes.  They always draw me out of the story.  Sure, the idea is communicated, but it's done with the same sort of style that I build step stools.  Nobody wants to look at them.  So why do I use them?  I don't know, because they are easier?  Because I'm writing dialogue and that's how people talk?  Because sometimes a comparison using like or as is just the ticket?

I think it's nostalgia.  I grew up in the '80s and like everything we ever said was like totally similes, ya know?  It was awesome, man.

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