So I’m working. Well, sort of working, anyway. My current WIP needs pretty much an entire re-write, top to bottom, which is a little discouraging, but ‘ve realized a couple of things about my characters that means my initial scenes are totally off. So back to the drawing board. Better now than later, eh? Still sucks though.
Anyway, I was thinking about comparisons, about similes and metaphors, and how they’re used, and what uses are cliche. Like how “cold as death” is cliche. It still works, or rather, still can work, but it’s an oft-used simile and so one to try and avoid.
Coming up with new ones is hard, though, isn’t it? Especially when you have a mind like mine that runs to understatement and silliness. Especially when your secret fantasy is to someday write a romance spoof, an anachronistic historical, one that uses every cliche in the business. (Seriously. I dream of this and how amusing it could be if I could do it right.)
Today as I made ready to hop in the shower, I closed the windows. It’s a little cool outside today and I didn’t want to freeze when I got out of the bathroom wearing only a towel. (The bathroom window is usually closed. I don’t trust those people across the street not to peep at me as I brush my teeth. Call it paranoia, I don’t care.) I was thinking how cold it was, and the phrase, “Cold as a cold, cold ass” went through my mind.
That’s right, folks. Cold as a cold, cold ass.
That’s poetry, that is. I should win a Pulitzer for that one.
But really, don’t we all think of stupid comparisons like that? Similes or metaphors that just don’t work, not in English or any other language? That say nothing, and say it badly?
I once read something about this subject, and the writer used an example from-I believe-Erica Jong. The phrase was, “the dawn sky was the color of fuschianated water in some half-forgotten apothecary jar”, or something like that. Sounds poetic, if a bit odd, but it the only word that tells us anything about the actual sky is “fuschianated”. (Which I might have spelled wrong.) All the other stuff is wasted, pretentious muddle words thrown in to try and make the line sound smarter than it is.
It’s not necessarily the fault of the writer, though, because we all do stuff like that. We all write that stuff, in a desperate attempt to find a way to express ourselves that’s original, that grabs the reader, that says what we want it to say without resorting to the tired old standards.
What was yours? What simile or metaphor or whatever did you think of, maybe even wrote down, that you later realized either made no sense or was just plain ridiculous?
Or did you read one somewhere that you want to share? (Please do!)
Me and my cold, cold ass will be waiting eagerly to read them.