Writing and Using Metaphors

By Lydia Oyetunji

“Writing is The Air I Breathe. Without it I will surely Die.”

 Are you familiar with metaphors? How often do you include them in your writing? I’m a writer who has been newly introduced to metaphors. I remember metaphors and similes from my high school years, but I don’t think I have applied them to my writing very often. My purpose for writing this article is to refresh the memory of seasoned writers as well as assist new writers.

What is a metaphor?

Simply put, a metaphor is a figure of speech comparing two different things that have something in common. Metaphor is a Greek word that means to “transfer” of “carry across.” Metaphors “carry across” the meaning from one image, word, or idea to another. Be careful not to confuse the comparing of two items with similes, by using “like” or “as.”

How do I form metaphors?

Take for instance my metaphor at the beginning of this article, I’m comparing the mind to a tree. The human mind and a tree are two different things entirely, but both need something to grow.  The brain is not a tree and does not actually grow but can figuratively grow. The more we educate ourselves, the more we gain knowledge which is mental growth. Another popular metaphor is, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances” —William Shakespeare, As You Like It. We know the world is not an actual stage, nor are we actors or players on a stage. Shakespeare is creatively comparing the world and the role we play in life to a stage performance. A genius metaphor for life in my opinion!

Why should I use metaphors?

Do you find yourself using the same words and phrases continuously in your writing?  I recently started to notice a redundancy in my writing. The first time was when I reviewed some of my older work to repost on my blog. Although, the light bulb remained dim until Scott Biddulph, editor of “Two Drops of Ink,” suggested that incorporate metaphors in my writing. I read the edited version and my original version which is one in the same but not so repetitive and long winded. I felt the passion I wanted to convey for educating others about social media, but it needed more. I’ve learned that most writers are so sensitive about their work that any editing or constructive criticism is a smack in the face. For me, it was a writing assignment that would, in turn, make me a better writer.

Metaphors allow the reader to think and draw their own conclusion. Stop waving your finger in the face of your readers! One of my informative articles was like reading an instruction manual. The readers were thoroughly informed, but the post lacked luster. For me to just say “I truly love writing,” is not enough; so what, so do other writers!  If I say to the reader, “Writing is the air, I breathe.” It allows them to imagine my life and how bad I would feel if I were not able to write. Thus sparking an interest to turn the next page.

I learned that using metaphors allows you to say so much in just a few words. Why worry about the word count? The goal is to inform the reader, provoke thought and draw a picture. Word count is important, but I always pushed myself to no less than 1000 words. That was a hang up for me! What good is a 1000 word article if the reader is asleep by the second paragraph? My goal is not to lull you to sleep but to grab your interest and hold on for dear life.

At a loss for words? Metaphors fulfill that loss by describing the thought, emotions, and experiences in a creative way. When I say “Writing is the air I breathe,” I’m figuratively drawing a picture of how important it is for me to write. The reader sees that if this person does not write, they will inevitably perish, figuratively speaking. Whereas, I would have usually tried to tell the reader, not show the reader.

What is the best method of adding metaphors to my writing?

When Scott suggested I use metaphors in my articles, I immediately started doing research on Google. I was hungry for knowledge and Scott gave me the tools to go hunt. Applying metaphors is not as simple as adding them in where you may think it will sound profound or catchy.

“The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor.” It is “a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilar.”- Aristotle

The quote from Aristotle summed up why Scott said that I should take it slow when adding metaphors to my work. Metaphors have multiple uses; they can be used as verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases, appositives, and modifiers. Yes, it is that in depth and needs to be covered in another article. I will definitely take it slow so that I can effectively and efficiently implement it in my writing style. After all, who doesn’t want their work to be described as a sign of genius? Especially if my writing is enhanced due to an intricately placed metaphor.

My goal in this article was to enlighten new writers and to remind seasoned writers of the importance of continuously being aware of our style. Not all editors are vampires waiting to drain the blood of your first born child. As a contributing writer for “Two Drops of Ink,” I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the best writers and editors. Humility, my passion for writing, great teachers, and my willingness to learn has made me a much better writer. I feel I am on my way to becoming a great novelist and you can too!

 lydia 2 Lydia

I am just what my blog says… I Live…Love…Share!!! I’m an administrative support consultant and owner of Chronicles Administrative Support. I spend plenty of time online working and learning new things. I love meeting and discussing a variety of subjects with people. I love gardening, sports, reading, people, animals, etc.

Lydia’s blog: https://lydiaoye.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

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S.W. Biddulph

Scott Biddulph is a published writer, author, and poet from North Georgia. He began writing as a youngster and followed his lifelong dream of reaching people through the written word when he returned to The University of North Georgia in 2013 to finish earning his BA/English with a concentration on publication and creative writing. His publications include the following: an eBook, Apples of Gold: A collection of inspirational short stories and poems (Smashwords, 2010) and a paperback, Voices from the Heart, (Createspace, 2012). His poetry is published in Papers and Publications Undergraduate Research Journal. Vol 3 (2014) and the award-winning Chestatee Review (Spring, 2015), among other places (Check his LinkedIn profile for a full list of his publications). He is currently working on publishing poetry, creative non-fiction, academic essays, and his memoir. ******** Scott has also worked as an intern editor for the University of North Georgia Press. As a freelance editor, he has done the layout and design of several books and magazines. He is currently working with several authors on various publication projects in which he is either ghostwriting, editing manuscripts, or doing the layout and design of their books. ******** Finally, and most importantly, he is a father, grandfather, husband, and dedicated Harley Davidson rider. He and his family enjoy the beauty of the North Georgia Mountains where they live—especially their screened in back porch where they love to bird watch. ******** ~ "I love realism. I love writing about the raw, down-to-Earth, heartfelt realities of life. I love to write in a way that reaches into the human soul—to take the greatest pains and struggles in life, and make them a blessing to others. Fantasy is a wonderful, interesting thing—but real-life situations, feelings, fears, and dreams are an unexplored ocean of stories that need to be told." ~ ~Scott Biddulph~

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