Thursday, June 9, 2011

Repost: Using Metaphors

I'm away from the blog this week (be back soon, promise!), so I hope you'll enjoy this older post on using metaphors to encourage us in our writing process. I never got any comments on it, but still find its premise fascinating.

I've got Guys and Dolls music stuck in my head. Two weeks ago I saw Rent, and in order to get the music from that out of my head, I started listening to other musicals on my ipod. Mistake.

Right now it's Luck be a Lady. Which is a fun metaphor. I always wanted to use G&D with my students to teach metaphors and never got around to it. To take another G&D tune (they're all in my head!):
Well sir, all I can say is if I were a gate I'd be swinging!
And if I were a watch I'd start popping my springs!
Or if I were a bell I'd go ding dong, ding dong ding!

Wouldn't that be a fun class?

I've got metaphors on my mind as well lately. I read a great article in Myslexia by Bekki Hill about using metaphors to increase motivation as a writer. She suggests developing a metaphor to describe your writing. If it's a negative metaphor, you can then develop or change your metaphor so you visualise yourself overcoming your writing problems.

I'm not sure if it works or not, but I'm always coming up with metaphors for my writing. Somehow I always feel better if I can describe my state of being. So this morning I decided to play with Hill's theory. My writing was feeling like a box holding a two-thousand piece puzzle had been turned down in front of me. I couldn't figure out how to get anywhere. Should I start with the edge pieces? Collect like colors?

Then I decided it was more like a building without a foundation. Maybe like one of those 3-d puzzles of the Tower of London...

Then I decided it was more like my plot was a fly, swirling through a dark cave, trying to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Except she keeps getting a leg or a wing stuck on a spider's web. She just can't make her body streamlined enough to all fit.

Okay, not quite ready for a showtune number yet. But I wonder if I visualize myself making progress on the puzzle's border, or saving my foundation or flying really fast I'll start feeling better? I'm not sure, but I'll let you know.


  1. Anne, I'm enjoying your reposts. Obviously there are quite a few I've missed.

    Hope you are enjoying your break!

  2. Thanks, Bridgette--good to hear it! I should post some more, as it looks like I'm going to be away longer than I expected!


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