Metaphors – mixing them up and writing well

Inspired by noted English Professor Karen Swallow Prior,

I created these memes as a public service to good writing, because:

a good metaphor

Don’t let the inability to find a good metaphor keep you from writing. Forge ahead by following this example:

mixing metaphors

And whether you find a good metaphor, or mix a few mediocre ones together:

glacial writing


[Have a favorite metaphor, pristine or mixed? Share in the comments.]


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21 Responses to Metaphors – mixing them up and writing well

  1. Those are all fabulous… similes… 😉

  2. jkpvarin says:

    My overused favorite mm: We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it.

  3. Metaphors, similes, etc., don’t mix with autism. A couple of weeks ago my middle child decided to tell a joke at the dinner table. “When is a door not a door?” Fluff said. I replied, “When it’s ajar!” My son, however, was mystified. How is a door the same as a jar? Is it because a jar has a lid that can open? Is it because the door is made of glass? Is it because the lid is loose on the jar? Fluff, bless her patient heart, tried valiantly to explain the play on words for a good fifteen minutes, to no avail. I tried hard to stifle giggles, but I ended up having to apologise because he thought I was laughing at him. I was, but I told him I was laughing at his sister. Bless him. I often wonder how Jesus would have communicated with my boy, who has very little ability to understand parables. The kingdom of heaven is like…? How do you explain the unexplainable? So instead we keep it simple: be kind.

    • Tim says:

      That is a great family story, Sandy. You communicate quite well with your kids it seems to me.

    • Laura Droege says:

      Recently, I read a novel with a character who had Asperger’s. Another character uses a metaphor in speaking to him, and he says, “Paula, you know I don’t do metaphors before I have my coffee in the morning.” She replies, “You don’t do metaphors at all!” Your story reminded me of that.

      And I bet Jesus knows exactly how to communicate with your son: with kindness and direct, literal language. And lots of hugs. (I bet Jesus was a huggy type of guy.)

  4. Jeannie says:

    When I took creative writing in university, the instructor said that his all-time favourite line from a poem was “I hate every second of your face.” I don’t know if that’s a metaphor or not, but it’s always stuck with me … like the glue that remains persistently after you try to pull the tag off a cheap plastic drinking glass from Dollarama …

  5. Pastor Bob says:

    Not PUNishment, but good.

  6. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

    Is this wit half empty or half full?

    I am called a great thinker by people who lisp.

    I was called a smart fell’er by a dyslexic.

  7. Mary Anne says:

    One of my favorites along these lines comes from Radar on M*A*S*H*: “That’s a bear we all gotta cross.”

  8. Haha…that glacier meme is awesome 🙂

  9. Ruth says:

    ‘Full to dollys wax’. From my British grandma, born in Liverpool in 1906. Dolls were made of material and filled to the neckline with soft wax, then the head applied later. So, it means , I ate too much, or I don’t like what you’ve cooked so I will kindly say I’m full, or I wish I could fit in some more, but I might overflow……..

  10. “He held a fork in his hand like a child or an American.”
    – Eleanor Olyphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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