I struggle with metaphors. My attempts are either so wild that no-one understands them, so lame that they break down really easily or so normal that they are indistinguishable from cliché.
I read the answers to this question: What qualities should a good metaphor have? and from it I understand the kind of ingredients that go into a metaphor ('recasts the familiar or mundane as something strikingly different yet truly parallel', 'gives a startlingly vivid picture or brings a surprising insight', 'conveys the essence of the idea in mind and requires no additional explanation', 'original, memorable, and even alliterative', 'easily invoke the idea you're trying to convey, without extraneous or irrelevant details', 'resonates with the audience' and 'may add to the core idea'.
What I need help on are the mental processes of how to gather those ingredients and how to blend them together. I need, if you like, directions to the shops and, thereafter, the recipe I need to follow, in order to cook up a good metaphor. I mean, surely the meal doesn't just appear - tasty and ready to eat!
My question is, therefore: how do I write a good metaphor, in terms of the steps I need to follow?
The question Creating metaphors in poetry asks for ways to 'come up with metaphors quickly and easily' and the answers to that question reflect this, using phrases like 'quick and dirty'. I'm looking for something more considered and thoughtful - a recipe for a gourmet meal rather than cheese on toast.
Standback's comment epitomises what I'm asking: 'The "quick and easy" part of this question (Creating metaphors in poetry) are grating on me - there's no creative formula that's "quick and easy," if there would be, it wouldn't be creative. Maybe change to ask about process and methods to develop a metaphor, even the arduous and time-consuming ones?'
My question is the one that Standback was calling for.