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“A metaphor is a kind of magical changing room — where, one thing, for a moment, becomes another, and in that moment is seen in a whole new way. As soon as something old is seen in a new way, it stimulates a torrent of new thoughts and associations, almost as if a mental floodgate has been lifted.”​​​​
​— Mardy Grothe

2. Use Metaphors (Strategically)

What is a metaphor?

A metaphor is saying something IS something else when it’s literally not. You’re comparing two things that have one or two similarities to make a point, which is especially useful if your point is abstract or complex. Metaphors create powerful imagery and can be highly persuasive. Above all else, a reader is going to remember your metaphors long after they’ve stopped reading your words​​

How to use them:


A simile is often described as a metaphor that makes its comparison with "like" or "as." The additional "like" makes the reader anticipate a comparison, putting greater emphasis on what comes next.  
The best way to describe a simile is that the comparison it makes is explicit. With other metaphors, it's different. When you call your dad the devil (who hasn't?), you're really saying he's not a nice dude, but you don't actually think he's the devil (we hope). So the comparison is implied, as opposed to a simile, which might go, "My dad is like the devil."
​In an article covering a recent hurricane in Florida, the writer expertly uses simile to describe the devastation: "The roofs were peeled open like tin cans."

Use metaphors to simplify abstract ideas or to draw attention for dramatic effect.

Examples of simple metaphors:

My mother has a heart of gold.

Her legs were spaghetti.

Both statements are, in reality, lies. All hearts are made of muscle tissue, and have you ever met anyone with stars for eyes? 

Metaphors tend to be the drama queens of literary devices, drawing seemingly absurd comparisons in order to highlight specific qualities. The result is a vivid picture your reader won’t soon forget.

More examples:

“All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.”
-Khalil Gibran

“A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.”
-Groucho Marx

"Love is an alchemist that can transmute poison into food--and a spaniel that prefers even punishment from one hand to caresses from another."
-(Charles Colton, Lacon)

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
​-Eleanor Roosevelt

"Medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress; when I tire of one, I spend the night with the other."      
-Anton Checkov

"Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food."
-Austin O'Malley

“When describing nature, a writer should seize upon small details, arranging them so that the reader will see an image in his mind after he closes his eyes. For instance: you will capture the truth of a moonlit night if you'll write that a gleam like starlight shone from the pieces of a broken bottle, and then the dark, plump shadow of a dog or wolf appeared. You will bring life to nature only if you don't shrink from similes that liken its activities to those of humankind."

― Anton Chekhov

19. Rhythm

21. Literary Devices