Notes from writing class -Similes









Disclaimer: This is a recurring and random series of posts. I'm currently enrolled in a basic writing/editing class and felt that my notes might be helpful to others. Please note, I am not an editor. I'm just an author trying to learn more about the craft to improve my own work, while sharing the things I learn along the way.   Enjoy.



In writing we often employ similes to call attention to how similar or different things are.

Her eyes were as blue as sapphires.

Her eyes twinkled like the stars in the sky.

Similes draw a direct comparison using "like" or "as."

It's tempting to use similes to help describe things to your readers, It's a quick and effective way to get your message across. The problem is they are too easy to use. Overuse of similes can make your writing seem a bit immature and cliche.

Imagine describing your character like this.

Her skin was as pale as fallen snow. Her eyes were as blue as sapphires. Her hair was like spun gold. She was as thin as a flag pole.

Would you really want to read a book full of character descriptions like that? Probably not.

As with all things, moderation is the key. It's okay every now and again to throw one in, but you really want to strive for unique ways to describe things. You want your writing to stand out, not be "like" everything else out there.

A quick way to determine if you are using too many similes in your writing is to use the find/replace feature in word and search out "like" and "as."

Comments

Willsin Rowe said…
I try to use metaphors more than similes. I love the more ambiguous nature of them. But, having said that, I also love a simile that seems almost wrong. In one of my stories I used "it cut like a hammer", for instance.
Lorelei said…
Ooo, a good one to look out for. Thanks for posting this as I work through the edits.