Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Simile

Simile: A figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (e.g., as brave a a lion, crazy like a fox).

I'm reading a romance, and really enjoying myself. At the moment I'm around half way through so I won't be posting a full review here - maybe next time. suffice it to say, just the thought of reading another chapter or two brings a grin to my face. If you're interested find Wonderful by Jill Bernett, you won't regret it.

I bring this subject and this book together because there's a few instances where Ms Bernett's use of simile was just a tad off. Here's the one example that sticks in my mind the most:
"...her blood raced through her body as if it were poured from a vat of boiling oil." 
Comparing racing blood with pouring, boiling oil - well, it just didn't bring up the right picture for me. Better might be to say her blood boiled like flaming oil ready to pour off the battlements, or some such thing, but really hot oil pouring anywhere, compared to one's blood, just doesn't sit right. It's the action, you see. Her blood is pumping through her veins and the oil is pouring out of its container.

I guess what I'm getting at, is you need to be careful when you use similes. You want to create a clear picture with a positive comparison. Avoid comparing something to the way something is NOT if at all possible.


William Kendall said...

That is indeed a wee bit off.

Anna L. Walls said...

Yep, just a bit. There were some missed opportunities for added humor and the ending was a bit rushed but all in all, I really enjoyed this book.