24

Zoom out. Zoom in. A metaphor claims that one thing is another thing. For that to work, the salient feature you are describing about one thing must be THE most important feature shared and exaggerated by the other thing. So first, we must zoom out: meaning stripping our original thing down to this one most salient detail we are interested in; making the ...


22

It isn't exactly empty; a spreading circle of fire might look like a growing crown; with high fire on the perimeter and no fire in the middle. (But ending with "on its way" throws me, it should be "consuming everything in its way"). That said, aside from your example, if your metaphor is obscure and has no obvious application to what is being described, ...


17

This isn't bad style "A crown of fire" is a an evocative statement full of imagery and connotations. Instantly, I can imagine the burning ring of flame, progressing outward and reaching up to the sky. The sentence may not make literal sense but certainly is a good description. In contrast "a circle of fire" seems somewhat lame. It ...


14

It's a brilliant answer from Amadeus (as always). I'd like to add a technique for when you cannot find a metaphor/simile that hasn't already been overused: distracting with detail. For example, say I want to describe a man listening to me intently. If I were to write: I’ve never met anyone with such focussed attention; he's a bird of prey. That's a ...


12

A character's perspective You can use metaphors to provide insight into your character. To borrow Amadeus's example: I want to write Allen returning home to the farmhouse for the Christmas break after his first year away to college. When he gets to the gate his dog Bandit sees him from the porch, and runs a hundred yards across the lawn... If Bandit is ...


11

It's an "Analogy" Similes and metaphors are types of analogy. It's still a metaphor because of the sentence structure (it's not a simile). When the comparison is really extreme it's called an analogy. The brain has to "reach out" to synaptic connections find the cross-reference how these things are alike, and eventually offers up shapes ...


10

It is personification. Simile and metaphor are both comparing X to Y, but in different ways. A simile always uses "like" or "as": "The rustling of the branches was like trees whispering to each other." A metaphor uses symbolism. It's something which can't be literal: "Their hissing gossip was the rustle of tree branches: indistinct, indecipherable, far ...


9

It is done already. Consider: He strode onto the pitch in freshly pressed whites. (Cricket) 'He was clothed in brown rags' doesn't mean he was actually wearing rags. It is quite common to say something like: He was clad in white and silver. Consider: She was resplendent in crimson and yellow.


8

Oy. Chop, chop, chop. You establish the metaphor of the treasure chest, so you can just declare that A=B without the transitions. The plastic container was a treasure chest of food. I peeked inside to admire its content. Under the store's lamp, the tiny eggs glistened like pearls. The red, white, and orange fish slices were edible jewels, the omelet ...


8

Your two categories cover a whole lot of ground between the two of them. But there's at least one other usage that comes readily to mind that isn't really encompassed by either of those. You can use metaphors to suggest the frame of mind or unique perspective of your POV character. Consider these two different descriptions of the same strand of trees in a ...


7

I think it is extremely important to keep all content of the book including the narrator not have any anachronism. This is unless it's meant for specific effect like comedy, time travel,or some sort of modern reflection, Keeping the reader emerged in the work is one of the most important parts of creating a good narrative. Any references outside the work ...


7

Both "Personification" and "Metaphor" are correct answers. Personification happens to be the best answer because it's more specific, but it's actually a type of metaphor. Everyone knows what a person is, but do you know what personification is? Personification is a type of metaphor and a common literary tool. It is when you assign the qualities of a ...


7

There are no rules. Many people read and enjoy stories without looking for or considering allegories. Heck, the Wizard of Oz is supposed to be an allegory for the politics of the 1890's, who watching it or reading it today would catch on to that? Nobody, but the story continues to be told. Your story has to stand on its own without any allegory. It has to ...


7

You can't drift off into the distance when you leave a room. Unless it's a really big room. You can drift out of a room, but you disappear rather suddenly, when the line of sight through the doorway is broken. Clouds don't disappear suddenly, unless they go behind buildings or mountains. Your English is fine here. The sentences make grammatical sense. ...


6

I'm not convinced that your comparisons are ultimately the best option for what you're trying to describe, but I'll use them in my explanation nonetheless. (Galastel's answer better addresses the content of a metaphor.) A metaphor still needs to name the thing you are actually talking about. Context can help, but saying the thing outright is best. If the ...


6

When it works. It's not something that has a particular formula. Nothing to count. No threshold to pass or avoid passing. Use your critique group or beta-readers or your favorite alpha reader. Don't ask them to look at this metaphor but, rather, to just read. If the simile sticks out like a sore thumb, they'll tell you. If they love it, they'll tell ...


6

Writing can be fine without metaphors or similes or other "literary devices". Your particular writing has problems. Normally we don't do critiques here, but I think for your example this will benefit other writers. 1) Why resort to speculation that wolves faces cannot show sadness? Wolves and dogs recognize emotions, both within their species and in humans; ...


5

Yes, the metaphor is quite vivid and gets the point across maybe even a little too clearly: if you see the shadow, you do know there is a moth casting it. If you hear a story, you may still believe it's entirely made-up or a result of some confusion. Then, still, this would create the impression of the protagonist's conviction that yes, the stone is true and ...


5

It's Personification. While it is a type of metaphor, this is called personification. The intent here is simply to describe the random movement of the tree branches with a sense of purpose. Although "God" is mentioned as the teacher, the poem is not describing something holy or religious, rather the slow, intentional martial arts motions of Tai Chi. From ...


5

Most of your metaphors do seem a bit confusing. Your first example compares parallel rays of sunlight to entrails, but entrails aren't parallel. Your second example compares newly formed clouds to transparent glass, but even the wispiest of clouds are far from transparent, they are opaque at best. Your third example "exhibitionist, twilight colors" ...


4

First and foremost, a metaphor needs to be understood. When Shakespeare says "All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances", you are not left wondering a metaphor for what the stage is - Shakespeare tells you. Your metaphors are all locks without a key - you do not tell the reader a metaphor ...


4

I don't think it is an oxymoron, because the person is talking about two "different" entities. His true self which hides behind the mask. And his day-to-day self which probably has worn the mask so long that he became accustomed to it, and he became the mask. In general there are obviously no things that are not allowed, especially in lyrics/poetry. But ...


4

There's no law against it, so of course it's permitted. (In fact, poetry tends to include "illogical" metaphors.) However, you'll have to consider what you want to achieve. An unclear metaphor might lead to the readers having a different image in mind than what you intended. In the worst case, it could leave your readers confused and take them out of the ...


4

It would be crazy to expect people to understand weird metaphors (or similes) The question is, would it be crazy like a limp, soggy rug - or crazy like the steel manacles I'm using to keep my old writing teacher chained to the wall in the basement? The advantage of using unusual metaphorical language is that it can shake up your reader in an unexpected way,...


4

met·a·phor /ˈmedəˌfôr,ˈmedəˌfər/ noun a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. You are using a metaphor anytime you describe something as if it were something else. The metaphor is the Swiss Army Knife of writing. She smelt of Heaven. You aremy rock. or You area muddy road, ...


3

I suspect you mean allegory. It is an ancient device that can be traced back to Homer. It allows for a deeper meaning to be inserted without necessarily announcing it. In the novel The Leopard, there is a woman who comes to the MC and he only realizes too late that she is death. He has come to enjoy her visits and leaves his life calmly. Sometimes ...


3

We faced away from each other awkwardly, as if we were on the first date we never had. A hypothetical or conditional, not a metaphor. We faced away from each other awkwardly, portraying the first date we never had. Description. What you want is: We faced away from each other awkwardly, two shy teenagers on the first date we never had. Next one: ...


3

Is that a sign of a bad metaphor? No. It's fine. And of course you're the author - it's up to you what you write. From this point of view there are no 'bad' metaphors. But I know what you mean and no, your example would not usually be considered poor English usage. You may be thinking of (in-)elegant variation or pleonasm.


3

Maybe you are seeing it from the wrong point of view. More than mythology, movies like Matrix and Prometheus deal with our current social values and believes. Neo, the technological messiah, is ready to die to save humanity but under a very actual agnostic - almost atheistic - point of view since he is more than human but not divine. He is machine made ...


3

A metaphor allows you to explain something complex, abstract or unfamliar to the reader in a way that they have a good chance of understanding or relating to. You can also use them to evoke sensory memories to better convey a more realised experience, humans rely extensively on episodic memory and metaphors play into this: Sam followed the sound of ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible