[photo courtesy; FlickrCreative Commons; ell brown]
I love using similes and metaphors as descriptors in writing, it adds interest and colour to the story.
For those of you who aren't familiar;
A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two different things, usually by employing the words "like", "as", or "than". Even though both similes and metaphors are forms of comparison, similes indirectly compare the two ideas and allow them to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things directly [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simile]
A metaphor therefore is; a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels". Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphor]
You'll find similes and metaphors peppered through almost any story, whether fiction or non-fiction. They make an image instantly recognisable and engaging.
In my latest WIP I've been playing with a really ugly character. He's ugly in and out and quite powerful. So I've been having a lot of fun making him revolting. To do this I've been using similes and metaphors and thinking of interesting descriptors. Thus far, this charactere has a toad-like appearance, with a fat pink tongue that slimes its way over swollen lips (hmmmm kissable huh? Not!) He shrouds himself in orange most of the time, but occasionally mops rivulets of sweat from his neck with it. Its a lot of fun.
Using descriptive similes and metaphors helps the readers imagination, create the scene, and I confess I spend a good deal of my time imagining cool descriptions - what can I say? I'm a nerd.
Anyway, one of my all time favourite similes, is the one that I've titled this post with. "A body as hard and hot as worked iron..." You can really see and feel how masculine and powerful the imagery is. Has anyone out there got a favourite simile or metaphor that they've read or created? I'd love to know.
Alas, I must leave this post a short one, edits, housework and a starved rescue cat are beckoning. :)