Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Learn how to use Similes to Create Metaphors

So, Bonefish, remember last lesson, we learned that metaphors compare two things that are not alike in a way that makes them similar. They usually compare things that you can’t touch like emotions to things you can touch like concrete nouns. Now we are going to creates some metaphors for the emotion happiness. I find that it is easier for students like you to think of similes first and then to convert them into metaphors. To make it easier, I will give you one of the five senses to use when you create your simile. 

Okay. Mr. Butt. Silly me will create a simile.

Then get to it. Give me a simile for happiness that uses the sense of touch.

Roger.  Here’s my example: Happiness feels like snow.

How does happiness feel like snow?

Um, snow is cold and fun.

Your simile isn’t clear-cut. Snow falls from the sky and sits on the ground. How is that fun?

When it snows, you can ski and go sledding and throw snowballs.

So: Happiness feels like a fast sled gliding down a snowy hill.

Hey, the adjectives fast describing sled and snowy describing hill add details that paint a picture. That’s good, Mr. Butt.

That’s why I’m the teacher and you’re the student. Details in your similes and metaphors make them stand out. So, how does happiness sound to you, Bonefish?

Happiness sounds like a baby.

What kind of a baby? What is the baby doing that relates to happiness? Describe it in more detail.
Happiness sounds like a giggling baby waiting for her daddy to tickle her again.

First-rate. What does happiness look like?

Happiness looks like Billy Fernowicz.

Billy Fernowicz?
Yeah, Billy was my roommate at Caretaking School. He was always humming and dancing. He loved yanking weeds out of old gravesites. Happiest caretaker I ever met.

But do most people know Billy Fernowicz?

No, he was a peculiar fellow.

So clarify your simile so that people will understand. How about: Happiness looks like a caretaker pulling weeds from an overgrown gravesite?

Sounds like Billy to me. Now, for my next two answers, I wrote:

Happiness smells like fresh baked pizza coming out of the oven. 

Happiness tastes like fresh baked pizza coming out of the oven.

Wait, those two similes compare happiness to fresh baked pizza.

I know. I sure would be happy if someone gave me a slice of fresh baked pizza. I’m starving.

We’ll order a fresh baked pizza for lunch after you change your similes into metaphors.

And just how do I do that?

Easy. In your lesson cross out the guide words feels like, smells like, etc. and use a form of the verb “to be” in place of the x-ed out words. Like this:

Happiness looks like a tawny cat sitting in an empty canary cage.

Cross out "looks like" and substitute "is.”

Happiness is a tawny cat sitting in an empty canary cage. 

Happiness is cold like a bowl of pistachio ice cream.

Cross out "cold like" and substitute "is.”

Happiness is a bowl of pistachio ice cream.

You're changing similes into metaphors.

So I would write:

Happiness is a fast sled gliding down a snowy hill.

Happiness is a giggling baby waiting for her daddy to tickle her again.

Happiness is a caretaker pulling weeds from an overgrown gravesite.

Happiness is fresh baked pizza.

And I’ve got one more, Mr. Butt.

Happiness is learning how to write scary good metaphors.

And scary good metaphors keep a reader reading and that's the main goal of Scary Good Writing.