You Aren’t Getting It
“18. Use figures of speech sparingly.
The simile is a common device and a useful one, but similes coming in rapid fire, one right on top of another, are more distracting than illuminating. Readers need time to catch their breath; they can’t be expected to compare everything with something else, and no relief in sight.”
-The Elements of Style
Or no reality in sight. Reality is the relief from the nauseous spiral of comparing everything to something that’s kind of like it, and never getting closer to what *it* actually is. If only it weren’t so gratifying to nail a simile/metaphor, to stand back and look at the new creation, still smoky from the forge.
Similes and other figurative sleights are a key battleground in the war between the writer’s self-satisfaction and the reader’s enjoyment. As long as the writer never feels entitled to the time it takes for the reader to “get” that fifty dollar metaphor, the detente we’ve been living with is manageable.
Manageable like Omarosa.
July 18, 2012