What’s a Metaphor?

Our blog is intended to be a resource for writers who want to learn more, enhance their craft and try something new. With that being said, we’re getting back-to-basics today as we talk about metaphors.

So just what are metaphors and how can you use them in your writing? Let’s find out.

For starters, a metaphor is merely a figure of speech that makes an implied comparison between two things that are seemingly unrelated but actually share some commonalities. It’s important to note that metaphors aren’t to be confused with similes. Similes also take two concepts, but compare them using “like” and “as.” More times than not, when working with similes, the comparisons are a lot more obvious. For example, “She swims like a fish.” Clearly she’s not a fish, but she’s like one.

Now that we have that cleared up, let’s get back to metaphors.

Unlike similes, the words “like” and “as” aren’t used in these comparisons. Rather, metaphors are more subtle. Let’s look at an example:

“Life is a rollercoaster.”

This metaphor describes the ups and downs that many people endure in their lives—these dips and twists that are much like the ones on a rollercoaster.

This figure of speech is commonly used in poetry.

When included in poetry, metaphors help paint a picture that’s deeper than what is on the surface. Metaphors will encourage your readers to draw a comparison between two things in a beautiful and elegant way.

Metaphors paint a stronger, more vibrant picture in your readers’ minds by describing a person, place, thing or idea in a way that’s not obvious, or maybe wouldn’t occur to them otherwise.

Imagination, creativity and thoughtfulness are important pieces to creating a metaphor. We encourage you to strengthen all three of these writing muscles and create a metaphor of your own.

Copyright Dorrance Publishing, 2017

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