Another aspect of writing sometimes neglected in today’s fondness for pared back writing is the use of imagery. We might think of imagery as being the domain of poets in particular, but metaphors, similes etc., are embedded in every aspect of language. Our conversations are littered with comparisons (the bees’ knees, spring clean, couch potato etc., etc.,) which have become so common we no longer connect them with the original concrete image. 

However, although using comparative images to acquaint readers with something beyond their experience is an effective tool for writers, using imagery to bring our ordinary, everyday world alive in a new way can be a more rewarding challenge.

Both uses increase the scope of our understanding.

The ability to create potent images stems from acute observation of the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches around us. Using sense perception to tie disparate objects together allows writers to reveal new insights to readers. 

Mixed metaphors are a weak point to guard against as they can produce unintended results - witness the following which was originally from the Detroit News, and quoted in The New Yorker.
 "I don’t think we should wait until the other shoe drops. History has already shown what is likely to happen. The ball has been down this court before and I can see already the light at the end of the tunnel."
Mixed metaphors often arise because a writer hasn’t seen the clash of content inherent in the meanings.

Another thing which is hard for writers to spot in their own writing, because we often see what we aim to write rather than what is in front of us, is the use of clichés. Clichés are metaphors, but are exhausted, ready to be retired metaphors in use since Noah walked off the Ark. Ironically, because clichés do contain powerful images, if they are rejuvenated and rethought, they are often more powerful than a newly created metaphor. 

Sprinkled sparingly among your words, like small shining jewels, metaphors provide an exercise for the imagination of both reader and writer.

Writing Update
I’m chugging along with my supernatural mash-up, and finding it a very different experience from my first novel where I used an assembly line approach of taking, for example plot flaws, and fixing them throughout the book, before moving on to the next aspect. This worked fine until I met Pro Writing Aid and entered Purgatory for about five months.

This time I’m approaching the edit chapter by chapter, which breaks down the use of Pro Writing Aid into smaller bite-sized chunks. So far the process seems easier than last time – even my ‘was/were’ score for chapter three in the overused words section said ‘Perfect’. So despite having found this online editing tool a tortuous learning curve, I must give credit where it's due.

I’ve set a goal of finishing this book by the end of June (as always, a flexible date), and – please don’t hold me to this –  have scenes popping into my brain for a second in the series. A series? Seriously? I have no idea where is this coming from, but I’m going to explore it a bit. After all, while the conflict set up in the current book is resolved, the dilemma of the eternal triangle remains. I already have the basic outline of beginning, plot, climax and resolution, and my subconscious is under strict orders to incubate ideas. 

I took a two day break from social media over the weekend – life and other stuff. It’s good to change things sometimes – helps keep life and other stuff in perspective.

Today’s Haiku
snow lies on the ground
one red apple left hanging –
blackbird finds a feast

Useful Links:
The title of this post tells you what it’s all about:
An interesting post on the role of editing in one writer’s journey to publication.

Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku

To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.

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