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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


This is just for fun.

I’ve been paying close attention to the subject of similes on Nathan Bransford’s blog. While anything can be over used in writing, I’m glad many of the writers defended similes. Reminders of writing blunders are absorbed usually like the criticism was written in stone. :) I’d like to make an observation pertaining to one of my favorite uses of a simile in my writing as well as what I read. I’ve read novels where the author describes a main character as looking or behaving like a very well known public figure, and it fits perfectly for me throughout the remainder of the novel. It’s not because the author was too lazy in descriptive phrasing. The usage fit a need perfectly. They wanted the reader to picture a certain person, many times as I believe they pictured the character while writing. Many times a well placed simile accomplishes what dialogue identifiers do, and readers generally register the comparison as they would an identifier. Just as we don’t really see ‘said’ when we read, other than a guide to who is speaking, readers generally file away the image a simile makes just as perfunctorily. Because agents and publishers read a vast amount of writing samples, and decide they’re tired of seeing certain identifiers or similes, it’s a bit self absorbed to subjectively yank writing tools out of our hands.

The guardians of the publishing universe proclaim no more adverb modifiers, and then no more dialogue identifiers, and now no more similes. Pretty soon, we’ll be writing: ‘See Dick run. Does Jane see him run?’ :)


Tempest Knight said...

LOL @ at your last comment. You're so right. There are publishers who don't allow you to use words like "then," "later," and others not even once.

Jordan Summers said...

I've had publishers take things out of my books, but they still let me use similes. You have to write what you want to write and then let them edit you later, if they have a problem with what you've done. Most editors don't.

BernardL said...

Thanks, TK, I'm glad you got a laugh out of it. Such was my intent. :)

This was just an off the cuff funny, Jordan. If I were looking at 'like a speeding bullet' all day long, I'd be writing directives to knock it off too. :) The editor left this one in your novel 'Off Limits' which I am enjoying at this time, Jordan "...but there was something alluring about her doe-like eyes. They were luminous and shimmering like the ocean at night on a full moon." Nice one. :))))))

Jordan Summers said...

Bernard, You know what's sad? I don't even remember writing that. I mean it sounds vaguely familiar, but that's about it. Of course, that book went through so many rounds of edits that I barely recognized it in the end. *ggg* Glad that you're enjoying it.

BernardL said...

It's not sad, Jordan. The simile fit perfectly. I had to go back to find it. When words blend well, the reader simply go on. I believe the repetition sours agents and editors slightly. :) Yes, I am enjoying your book.