Metaphors and similes. They are just another tool in the writer’s toolbox, and can be great for your story. But they can also drag your story down and kick the reader out of the rhythm. Lay them on too thick, work to hard to find comparisons, or get to “fancy” and your masterful metaphor is just going to sound … well, silly.
Don’t believe me? Check these out!
1. Worn down at the edges like a Times Square hooker, the caretaker’s last tooth lay on the floor like a yellow Chiclet.
2. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, the like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
3. When she stepped out of her dress, she had the body of a 90-year-old nun, if the nun looked as young, attractive, and sexy as the dame standing in front of me.
4. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
5. As I watched through the slatted shades, her bosom bounced like her suspicious husband’s first check.
6. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
7. The killer was a misplaced comma in the jaunty, happy sentence that made up the party crowd.
8. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
9. His face looked like an ice sculpture. Not one of those pretty ones in the middle of a cruise ship buffet, but the kind they do in a contest with a chainsaw—and it had been out in the heat too long.
10. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
11. There was something funny about the kidnapping crime scene that Special Agent Frievald couldn’t quite place, and the thought stuck with him throughout the rest of the day, like those tiny little bits of the circumferent skin from the bologna slices on a foot-long Subway Cold Cut Trio that get stuck in between the last two molars on the upper left, on the tongue side where you can’t possibly reach them with a toothpick, your fingernails or even a systematically straightened paper clip, they just sit there and make everything you eat at your next meal taste vaguely like vinegar and mayonnaise, and then somehow—quietly but miraculously—they disappear by themselves in the middle of the night while you’re asleep, just like the visiting Countess appeared to have done.
12. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
13. Her parting words lingered heavily inside me like last night’s Taco Bell.
14. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
15. She had a voice so husky it could have pulled a dogsled, and the gun she was holding gave me a bad case of barrel envy.
16. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
17. The neon sign reflected off his gun, like the moonlight reflects off my brother-in-law’s bald head after a night of beer drinking and cow tipping.
18. It hurts the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.
19. A single drop of sweat slowly inched down Chad’s brow—a tiny, glistening Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball of desperation.
20. Unable to contain his rage, he burst like a pimple of emotion, the pus of his fury streaking the mirror of calm in the bathroom of his life.
You know that these are so bad because some very talented people tried to make them bad.
So, just for kicks, write a really bad metaphor or simile and post in the comments. It’s fun and we could all use a laugh!