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I am finishing a short story by describing how the silence of a deceased character is more unnerving than that character's cries before he died.

Is there a simile to describe a traumatic or gut-wrenching scene?

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  • If you can think of a more specific question to ask that would help, please feel free to use the edit function to change this and well consider reopening. Feb 23 '16 at 16:40
  • @Neil (or others), do you think that with some revision this should be transplanted to EL&U? Feb 24 '16 at 4:41
  • @KaiMaxfield Maybe? It's worth trying, certainly. Feb 24 '16 at 20:32
  • @KaiMaxfield I'm not a mode there or even a frequent user, so I'd ask in their chat room. (You have sufficient rep there.) But I'd emphasize the part of the question asking for a term over the part that talks about writing. Feb 24 '16 at 20:52
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    @Standback How is this off-topic for Writers? ELU isn't really into writing advice.
    – Mitch
    Feb 24 '16 at 23:04
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You could mention that it's like a beating heart being ripped from someone's chest. One second beating, the next silent and still.

There's something conclusive about dead silence. When a dying person cries, there's still hope for survival but in the silence that follows death, it's a hopeless black void.

The silence symbolizes the shift from life to death.

You could describe it as "jarring". Like the shock of a bucket of ice water being poured over your head. I think "unnerving" fits pretty well too.

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Silence itself can be unnerving.
A ghostly slice or emptiness can be eerie. Or perhaps the calm after a tornado surrounded by the visual display of destruction.

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I'd call this "The silence of the lambs". While recent, this simile has wormed it's way into many heads.

Reference:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102926/

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Consider putting in blank lines and/or many spaces between words to represent the silence. That makes the reader read “silence” and experience it along with the character. It is a fairly common poetry technique but is also used in prose.

Example:

he breathed                     and breathed          and        then







nothing

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