Monday, April 2, 2012

Metaphor This!

"Those words are most pleasant which give us new knowledge. Strange words have no meaning for us; common terms we know already. It is metaphor which gives us most of this pleasure." Aristotle

I know, I know. It's not the day for Got Inspiration. It's Got Writing Monday. So I do have a prompt for you but I've got a challenge too, of another sort - at the end - before the prompt. But I had to start with Aristotle. He's a dude.

Metaphors are cool. According to there are 13 different types of them from mixed metaphors to submerged metaphors to visual metaphors. For any metaphor though the idea is to make a comparison between two unlike things that actually have something in common. A metaphor expresses the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar (; metaphor; Nordquist, Richard).

Metaphor's make your writing sing. Overused they can stick out like a sore thumb (overused metaphor). But used just right they can activate powerful imagistic areas of the brain. I just made that word up. Here are four short quotes with metaphors. Can you match the quote to the book/author?

1. Considering the fact that they were inside a thousand-foot-long airship made from the life threads of a whale and a hundred other species, it hardly smelled at all. The scent was like a mix of animal sweat and clart, like a stable in summer. 

2. Far down the maze of ducts, Sloth was cranking away at a winding drum, sweat bright on her skin, blond hair pasted slick to her face as she sucked the wire out like a rice noodle from a bowl of Chen's soup ration. 

3. Dead leaves crunched beneath his feet like sharp teeth on bones, and the moon cast blue-black shadows all around that looked like monstrous figures eating unspeakable living buffets. 

4. I have what looks like the outline of a normal boy's ear, but it's pressed down into the flesh, squashed like potter's clay. 

Match to Book, Author:
a. Stick, Andrew Smith
b. Goliath, Scott Westerfield
c. Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi
d. Return to Exile, E.J. Patten

So here's your writing challenge for this week. Come up with a metaphor using 1-2 sentences, no more, that create an image for us that will light up our occipital lobes. We'll take entries through Wednesday April 11and post the winner on Friday, April 13.
- Joe

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