Who uses comparisons in their writing? *Raises hand* Yeah those lovely similes and metaphors can really add to our work. Or hurt it... Yep, we have to consider a few things when we use these puppies because it will either work well, or jump out at the reader like a big hairy wart. Ha! See what I did just there?
Here are some questions to use as a filter when considering what to compare and whether to do it at all:
- Is the comparison easy to understand?
- Is it the kind of comparison my character would make? Does it match the voice?
- Is it cliche? Because you know you can do better!
- Is it worth it? Does it really add anything?
- Is it overkill? Have I already used a better metaphor in this paragraph?
Let's use a nice vampire example:
First the not so good:
The boy materialized inches from Susan. He was as handsome as a young William Shatner. His eyes filled with as much danger as a nuclear missile. Susan wilted like a flower in the frost, collapsing right into his arms of steel.
Okay I can't go on! It was fun, but actually a little scary to write that! Let's try it a little differently, shall we?
The boy materialized inches from Susan. It wasn't his beauty that stole her breath, it was his eyes, sharp and cold as knives. They pinned her to the spot, and Susan wilted, collapsing right into his arms.