Metaphor: a figure of speech that finds similarities between two things. From the Greek metaphora: meta (among, over, with, beside) and pherein (“to carry”), metaphor literally means to carry one thing into another. It is a way we writers can create infinite shades of meaning, just as an artist can create infinite shades by mixing the colours on her palette. Aristotle believed use of metaphor was a sign of genius. Certainly, it can facilitate economy of expression: to write that one’s room is “like a prison cell” contains a range of meanings that would otherwise take paragraphs to express. But using metaphor isn’t always easy…
Here’s a great game to practice thinking metaphorically – it also works well as a drinking game!
This week’s featured market is an amazing opportunity all the way from Berlin. Don’t worry – you needn’t write in German. This is strictly for English-language stories of 1500-3500 words. The theme is “A Summer Night” and you have until midnight (CET) on May 31st. Best of all, it’s completely free to enter and there are some amazing prizes: first place wins publication in the summer print edition of EXBERLINER, €100, and a goodie bag. Two runners up will each receive publication on the EXBERLINER website, €50, and a goodie bag. And ten finalists will have their stories featured on The Reader Berlin showcase, and have the opportunity to perform their work live at a Reader Sunday Salon event in autumn. Please see here for full rules and submission details. Good luck!
In this video, D.D. Johnston introduces an exercise to prompt writers to consider different types of comparisons: direct metaphor, simile, hyperbole, personification, and conceit. Write along!
In this video we look at two descriptions of the same place, which appear at different stages of Zadie Smith’s On Beauty. Although the place is the same, Smith is able to advance the story just by changing the sensory details on which she and her characters focus. Being able to do this, to show rather than tell, to use concrete description as an essential part of the story rather than a background, is central to how most writers work. But do remember that mimesis is not the only way to tell the story: there are many alternatives to the cinematic mode of narration.