forum The only figurative language I seem to be able use are metaphors and similes... help
Started by @I-love-lucie

people_alt 3 followers


Whenever I write, it seems like I can only tell what my character is doing. I can't think of a creative way to describe it. And when I do get creative with it, I just end up comparing. It's always "Sally jumped" or "Sally jumped like a frog". Any advice?


I'd say the best way to break out of that habit is to read other peoples writing and look at examples of figurative language in literature. You could also switch up the way you phrase it.

So instead of "Sally jumped." you could say;

"Sally leaped into the air gracefully, like a frog would leap across a pond." It's still a simile, yes, but not nearly as boring. You've just gotta get creative with it. Change up how long each sentence is, try to show the reader who your character is.

Lets say in this instance, Sally is a gymnast. Saying that she leaped gracefully would imply that she was good at what she did.
You could also do something like this;

"Sally leaped into the air gracefully, like a frog would leap across a pond. Though it helped very little in giving her actual skill."

This is another way to tell the reader who the character is. Sally isn't very good at being a gymnast. Is she new at it? Just plain bad at it? What are her thoughts on the subject? She looks graceful, so clearly she cares enough to put effort into it despite her lack of skill.

To sorta wrap this up, just be creative with the ways you tell things. Don't get stuck in the habit of saying stuff the same way every time. Mix it up. Break the monotony. And READ. That's the best way to get better. Read other people work and ask yourself "What makes this good? What makes it bad? Why do I like or dislike this?"

And it doesn't have to be perfect. Becoming a great author is achieved through time and practice, so be patient with yourself, you'll get there eventually.

Sorry I got off on a bit of a tangent there ^^

Happy writing!

@Becfromthedead group

Yeah, I agree. A lot of the time, similes and metaphors will do you just fine. There's no real replacement for them, just don't overdo it! If you want your writing to sound a little more poetic, you could always use other figurative language like alliteration (repeated letter sound on first letters of words in a sentence) or repetition to get a point across. Also, depending on the setting of your story, you could allude to historical events, etc. Then again, sometimes good old imagery will get you really far. Engaging a reader's senses is highly important.
Overall, It's best that you don't worry too much about including all the figurative language you can. Just make sure that when you do use it, it's appropriate, and that you don't overuse any one technique. Chances are, you're already using very subtle figurative language in your writing, and you're doing just fine. But if you have any doubts, research or ask for critiques! That's your best bet.
But to address your "Sally jumped" example, I'll give you a few pointers (or so I'll try). What I'm going to tell you is that you don't even need a simile or metaphor to give your reader an image of what's happening. You could instead go with: "With a running start, Sally leaped into the air, her black curls flying behind her. She came back down with utmost grace and stuck her landing." Anything similar would work. Just make it so your reader sees it. They don't always need anything to compare an event to, and much of the time, in-depth description is most effective.