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2

Both the simple present and the present continuous sound a bit off combined with simple past in that way. Also, keep may not be the best verb to use, holding, clinging to, grabbing, riding, surfing etc. may be better. Difficult to say what would sound better without knowing the preceding paragraph, but maybe use past continuous: "They were holding the ...


2

It's all based on context. If you suddenly introduce figurative language to a passage that is otherwise literal, then it can be jarring. But if the passage already contains figurative language, then using more of the same would be entirely appropriate. I find it difficult to believe that the editor would object to figurative language in its own right. ...


3

Metaphors and personifications are wonderful figures, adding beauty and interest to writing, and often (especially in the case of metaphors) helping to explain the unknown in terms of the known. But as your editor points out here, it is possible to come up with a novel ('creative') metaphor or personification that detracts from rather than adds clarity. And ...


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