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He gave me a look like I had worms crawling out my eyeballs.


Hi Everyone!

I hope you are all enjoying your week! My week back to work has been okay, just trying to catch up. I didn’t have nearly the amount of emails I thought I would, so that’s good. Revising is going well. It’s slow, but the plot holes are being filled one by one!

So, the title of this post … yeah, I wrote that. Um… what? Tell me that’s not true, you might say.

Sorry folks.

I used to think I knew good examples of similes, but now I’m not sure. I can’t seem to stop writing the weird ones.

So let’s go back to the drawing board… What is a simile? You probably already know, but it never hurts to re-introduce the brain to the actual definition… why not, right?

sim⋅i⋅le

–noun
1. a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared, as in “she is like a rose.

2. an instance of such a figure of speech or a use of words exemplifying it.

source http://dictionary.reference.com

So on to my dilemma, I love similes, but when is too much. I don’t want them to distract from the story. Unfortunately, when my critique partner takes notice of the many similes and their collective weirdness, it’s time to re-examine their existence in the story.

This is one she liked, “We both looked through our prospective boxes searching for the two kills the Senator ordered like menu items at a restaurant.”
I’m not sure if all similes are created equal. Maybe there will be a reader that likes my wacky animal/insect similes, but more often than not, the comparisons will distract from the story, so thus, they must go. *sniff*

So.. I’m curious, what type of similes do you use? Do you have any funny or unique ones you want to share?

Have a great rest of the week!

Pic courtesy of www.tnellen.com/cybereng/lit_terms/simile.html

23 Responses to “He gave me a look like I had worms crawling out my eyeballs.”

  1. I try to avoid similes because it’s too easy to pull the reader out of the story. The author shouldn’t be present, but if you have a weird one that doesn’t pertain to the story, then suddenly you, not the characters, are front and center.

    I don’t think I’ve included a single one in either of my two novels, but occasionally I’ve seen one that was pulled off well. I think if the comparisons somehow relate to the story, even if not that actual scene, than they work.

  2. Erica says:

    Mel- That’s a good point. I do agree that the author shouldn’t be present. I write in 1st person, so really it’s the MC that’s giving these comparisons… Not sure if that matters, but let’s say she likes them?

    They would be better if they relate to the story :o)

  3. destrella says:

    I got nothing….. sorry! I do have a joke from my yogurt this morning… What do you call a cow that just gave birth?

    Decalfinated! :O)

  4. Erica says:

    Diane – LOL That’s a cute one :o)

  5. Eric says:

    Oh similes, thou art hard to craft with the utmost beauty.

    Yep, I have just as much trouble (though in different ways perhaps) with these little buggers. I have read similes in books that really left me with chills and others that just left me cold. So I guess it depends on how one uses them as to whether they are good or bad. It’s also highly subjective, since what might evoke feelings of joy from one person will inevitably cause another to cry incessantly. Do I have any real answers or am I just babbling. Only my shrink could tell you (if I could afford one, that is).

  6. Erica says:

    Eric, Hello and welcome :o)
    They can be a pain huh? Glad to see I’m not the only one that struggles with them. That’s a good point that it’s all subjective.

    Feel free to babble around these parts :o)

  7. I think I really only use similes/metaphors when describing feelings. (Anxiety: Angry wasps stung my stomach–that’s one in my WIP, or something like that.)

    My MC is 1st person too, so I do think it’s easier to use similes in those scenarios because, like you said, it’s the MC giving the comparisons not the author.

  8. Iapetus999 says:

    If you want to experience simile overload, watch Family Guy sometime.

    Unfortunately, they animate the similes as well.

  9. Erica says:

    Hi Sara and welcome!
    That’s a good place to use them. I too use them in some of those cases. I think I need to let go of most of them though. I like your simile :o)

    Hey Andrew,
    You know, I love that show. I never thought of their snippets as similes, but I guess they are aren’t they? LOL :o)

  10. Emily says:

    Hi Erica,

    Like you, I’m a YA writer from the midwest, so I was pretty happy to find your blog! 🙂

    My latest novel is narrated by two different characters, both high schoolers, but a boy and a girl. When they use similies, I want them to make sure they 1)fit the situation and 2) line up with things the character tends to think about. But as I look through it for one I really like, I find I could work on this more.

    Thanks for getting me thinking!

  11. Erica says:

    Hi Emily and welcome :o) Aw, thank you for the kind words fellow midwesterner!

    Those are great points. I’m afraid I might have an addiction. I was reading my first paragraph, I had 3 already! Oh, I got you thinking? I’m sorry. LOL Just kidding!

  12. Jamie D. says:

    Well, you know how I feel about them, obviously. 😉

    I avoid them as much as possible…I prefer direct description in nearly all cases.

    But I don’t write YA, and I don’t write 1st person…so it’s all subjective, of course. 😛

  13. Erica says:

    LOL Jamie yes :o) I agree with you though, a lot of them need to go. It is very subjective. I’m only keeping the good ones ;o)

  14. We don’t use a ton of similes but there’s one that I remember using in a past manuscript:

    “The black letters shrieked across the white cardboard like a scream.”

  15. Erica says:

    LiLa – I like that one. Makes me wonder what the context is :o)

  16. Jm Diaz says:

    He smiled like a banana begging chimp.

  17. I used to love teaching figurative language to my 6th graders. They LOVED similes because they were easier to write than metaphors!

  18. Erica says:

    Hi Laura!
    Oh yes, I think that too! What I like about them is – I see something in my mind, and a nice comparison is always something that makes me visualize it, not sure if it works for everyone else, but… I run out of facial expressions… LOL

    :o)

  19. Tom Bailey says:

    I just use them when I am speaking and I am trying to clarify a distinction. I use them usually in comparing – sports, war, struggle, challenge and adversity.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Tom Bailey

  20. From my WIP: She’s like the smell of lavender, she instantly calms the room.

  21. Erica says:

    Daisy, Oh I really like that one! Thanks for sharing :o)

  22. Erica says:

    Tom- That makes sense. For some reason I just really like them. Thanks :o)

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