Nav Persona's picture
Nav Persona from Purgatory is reading The Babayaga October 1, 2011 - 6:04pm

In a current WIP, I use the "Monster Under The Bed" metaphor to describe my protagonist's father and the relationship they have. It illuminates a love/hate/fear/clinging intimacy that allows a lot of action, and I'm enjoying the exploration of the relationship in this context.

How have you used metaphor in your writing?

What has been the strongest, most effective metaphors you've come across in your reading?

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 1, 2011 - 6:13pm

I'm writing a skit for Totally Sketch and somehow came up with the line: "This taco is horrible.  It tastes like the last five minutes of Requiem for a Dream."

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch October 1, 2011 - 6:40pm

Not to be gross, but I love a metaphor is Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut): a British latrine in the prison camp, with a note: "please leave the latrine as tidy as you found it" - I see it as a metaphor for hiding the ugliness of war under a pretty surface (which isn't even that pretty since what is so pretty about a latrine?)

A metaphor I used (that I liked) was of a horse whose owner sawed off its legs (sorry it was a magical realism story). Metaphor had something to do with someone's guilt killing the person's sexuality. Oh never mind, it's hard to explain.

Jen Todd's picture
Jen Todd is reading your lifeline and all signs are good October 2, 2011 - 10:01pm

My writing tends to be 70% metaphor, which makes for fun, interesting writing for me.  Bad, hard to follow writing for the general public.  There are times I write metaphors for the metaphors I'm using.  It's a problem. I should probably be seeking help. =X

I think Vonnegut was a master of metaphor (you go, Liana).  

I wrote a piece about an assassin once.  After the assassin kills the guy's wife (SPOILER ALERT) it goes something like this...

He’s disoriented and he’s looking at me like there really are no such things as monsters and I’ve crawled out from under his bed to prove him wrong.  It’s possible I have.  He looks down at his fingers because the love of his life is dripping like a sieve and his hands are a messy shade of red.

It looks like love to me.  All the love I’ve ever known.

Chorlie's picture
Chorlie from Philadelphia, PA is reading The Rules of the Tunnel October 2, 2011 - 11:15pm

The coffee maker is dripping. A little too slow for my taste, but I’m patient enough to wait for a full cup. Pour ten cups of water; five scoops of Folgers; turn the pot on and wait. I need coffee to start my day and I don’t have enough money to waste at that coffee shop and I don’t want to see that waitress and her presumptuous demeanor. I was a day person, a man that had a day job, and now I’m a junkie that wakes up in pain. No matter who you are everything in your life becomes routine. I always have coffee in the morning. Yes, even drug addicts have routines. Mine, however, is a little simpler. Wake up; make coffee; pan handle; score drugs and find a suitable place to lay my head. I had a home at one time, but now I am a perpetual couch hopper.

Nav Persona's picture
Nav Persona from Purgatory is reading The Babayaga October 3, 2011 - 4:34pm

I liked Sylvia Plath's "Bell Jar". I've thought about using some sort of metaphor for my own life, and I think I could compare much of it to a Mobius Strip - I keep repeating the same mistakes in the same scenarios, lol

 

Phil Keeling's picture
Phil Keeling from Savannah, Georgia is reading Virtual Ascendence October 3, 2011 - 4:56pm

Some years ago, high from reading Choke for the first time, I wrote Chuck Palahniuk a letter asking for writing advice.  Months later he replied, saying "Find a weird, metaphoric way to rant about a personal issue of yours.  The personal connection will keep you writing and put energy into your work.  The metaphor will let you hide and not look like a big, self-absorbed, bitchy cry baby."

Which is not bad advice, really. 

I think my favorite example of using it comes from Bukowski's poem For Jane:

"when you left
you took almost
everything.
I kneel in the nights
before tigers
that will not let me be.

what you were
will not happen again.
the tigers have found me
and I do not care."

I don't use metaphor all that often, but I found this little nugget that I'm fairly proud of:

"Nostalgia is the brains version of dry humping."

Nav Persona's picture
Nav Persona from Purgatory is reading The Babayaga October 3, 2011 - 5:02pm

I love Bukowski!

And nostalgia=dry-humping brains... put a trademark on that right now- it's brilliant :)

 

Phil Keeling's picture
Phil Keeling from Savannah, Georgia is reading Virtual Ascendence October 3, 2011 - 5:08pm

Haha--thank you.  That particular piece is working its way through the slush pile of a dozen different magazines--hopefully someone will pick it up and trademark it for me.   :)

 

Phil Keeling's picture
Phil Keeling from Savannah, Georgia is reading Virtual Ascendence October 3, 2011 - 5:09pm

And Brandon--that taco line is beautiful.  I feel the same way about everything Aronofsky has ever done.  I finish the film, turn it off, and think, "That film was beautiful and brilliant.  It will last the test of time and become a classic.  And I never want to watch it again."

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts October 3, 2011 - 5:26pm

Just read some Raymond Chandler and start living in a brighter shade of colors.