f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Writing Metaphors

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Writing Metaphors

No. Not in that way.

I’m not talking about the actually writing of metaphors, but rather metaphors you hear in relation to writing. Novels are such large, complicated beasts that we’re often left relying on more tangible images to help each other find our way through.

My guess is that we’re particularly drawn to one metaphor or another. I’m wondering which ones you like best. And I’m wondering if you come to them on a book-by-book basis, or if the same comparison has worked for all of your writing.

Here’s some examples of what I’m talking about:

A novel is like a roller coaster. You need building action and emotion, but for every high, there needs to be a corresponding low that lets us climb back up until, finally, there’s one final drop and the reader is left spent but happy.

Writing a novel is like a symphony. You have multiple voices and moods and sounds at your disposal and you need to figure out how to blend them, let parts take the lead, and finally build to a moment and mood that, either in its quietness or loudness, fully captures the power of your piece.

This guy says writing is like preparing and running a long race.

Here, a class created a entire list of metaphors: eating out, practicing football, etc.

I, apparently, think of creating books in cooking terms.

E.L. Doctorow supposedly said, "Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the entire journey that way."

Elizabeth Innes-Brown says, “Writing a novel is like solving a puzzle: you just have to keep at it till it’s done, but it feels so good when you get there."

Adam Cadre says, “"Writing a novel is like walking across the country: I've got my map in front of me, know where to change freeways... I don't necessarily know exactly how the road will twist and turn along the way, but at least I know which cities I'll be passing through next.”

Disturbing famous writer Dean Koontz says, "Writing a novel is like making love, but it's also like having a tooth pulled. Pleasure and pain. Sometimes it's like making love while having a tooth pulled."

Prayers please for Mr. Koontz's wife. And dentist.