Friday, January 7, 2011

Comparisons & Analogies, When They Become Cliche

As with everything in writing, moderation is key when using comparisons and analogies. I usually fall on the side of
“Jodi, you’re being way too literal all the time, cut back some of your analogies.”
And sometimes I land in the mud puddle of
Oh, yeah that’s the dreaded one.
I’d much rather overuse likenesses to paint a detailed picture than use a single cliché in an entire 80,000 word manuscript. And yet, I’ve been known to do it. Good thing editing exists.

Interrupting this post for an announcment:

Misty @ Writers Block is hosting a blog fest from Jan. 15th thru 17th. Clicky the picture to sign up.

Show vs Tell Blogfest
and there is a PRIZE from CA Marshall: a ten pg critique or a four pg synopsis critique. (or $35 toward an editorial service which runs about $500.)

Click here for CA Marshall's services/blog:

Grab My Button!

Now back to our post:

So how to avoid cliché comparisons:
If you’ve read it somewhere—don’t use it.
If it sounds like something you’ve heard—don’t use it.
If it’s obvious—don’t use it.
Look up a cliché list online (you can do this for adverbs and adjectives too—which should be avoided like the plague) <=cliché J, not cliché=> which should be avoided like rabbits with fleas.
Think the way your narrator would about the world they’re in.
If you’re trying to come up with a way to describe how you want to love someone, you could always call Shane Max.
He is a poetry slam participant and w-o-n-e-r-f-u-l. Like seriously, the guy mixes comparison and metaphor and pulls it off oh, so well.
He’s hilarious.
Please Watch.

What do ya think? Got any new ideas for comparisons, analogies, likenesses etc…that will help you avoid the dreaded cliché all around?

Happy Reading. Happier Writing.



Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

Yeah, Ive certainly been red carded for the cliche before. But you're right when you said that if you read it or heard it somewhere, don't use it.

Useful post

Dan said...

Good post and good advice, as always. Analogies don't often come easily for me. On the positive, I have to make a conscious effort to use them so I rarely overdo it. On the other hand, my analogies tend be something like:

He stalked down the corridor like thing.

Not really, but it can be hard finding the line between boring/cliche and overblown.

Dominic de Mattos said...

I spend my whole life thinking in analogies, I don't know why - just the way I'm built, I guess

I very strongly suspect that I will prove to be a shocker when it comes to clichés - time will tell

Thanks for the heads up on the Blogfest - I will go check it out. I'm having one too :)

No Fear Blogfest


gideon 86 said...

I agree that analogies can bog down writing. As for Cliche's I believe in some instances it could be used because even though they are Cliche' we can also relate to it...

I enjoyed your post Jodi.... Every writer show know this.


BTW I have an excerpt of Blinded Gardener if you have a chance to stop by.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Shane Max is amazing and such a great object lesson on un-cliches. Awesome post.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

Jodi, I awarded you an award

Margo Benson said...

Very good advice! I'm a newbie and I'm working so hard on this, although I will occasionally put cliche in dialogue to help convey someone's personality - we all know folk who cliche, I expect!
There is a blog award for you over at mine....enjoy!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Cliches are insidious. They worm their way into our thinking that they bleed onto our page before we realize it. And you're right - Shane is truly funny. Roland