Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020
And to start the new series, author Jacqui Murray who shares the wonderfully descriptive simile…very useful for all writers.
51 Great Similes to Spark Imagination by Jacqui Murray
I love similes. They say more in 5-10 words than a whole paragraph. They are like spice to a stew, or perfume to an evening out. They evoke images far beyond the range of words.
Simile–the comparison of two unlike things using the word ‘like’ or ‘as’. As bald as a newborn babe. As blind as a bat. As white as snow.
Wait–no self-respecting writer would use those. Similes are as much about displaying the writer’s facility with her/his craft as communicating. We are challenged to come up with new comparisons no one has heard before. I’ve seen contests on writer’s blogs for similes and most leave me bored, if not disgusted. It’s harder than it looks to create a simile that works. Look at these I found on G+:
- #1 – Being with him was like sitting through a Twilight Marathon, all sparkles and self-loathing.
- #2 – She was as nervous as my guinea pig, Mittens, when we turned him loose in the hog-stall last winter. Soon we found out that he wasn’t THAT sort of a pig .
- #3 – The snow fell like billions of breadcrumbs, promising a flurry of activity and a huge pile of shit in the aftermath .
- #4 – Her eyes were as blue as the ink in my pen, that trickled its life’s blood gently down the front of my pocket, as I tried in vain to get her attention..
- #5 – His hair soared in the wind like a captive egret, finally released into the wild. Not a minute had passed before a passerby made a joke about “if it was truly yours, it’ll come back to you…” He punched that person.
OK, there’s one more rule about similes: Make them concise. If you look at the tried-and-true ones below, you’ll notice they’re pithy and quick:
- dead as a doornail
- blind as a bat
- dry as dust
- good as gold
They also seem to benefit from alliteration, though that isn’t required.
I’ve started collecting the ones I read that I like, hoping they’ll spark my imagination when the need arises. Enjoy these (and the occasional metaphor thrown in):
- Stuck out like a leg in a cast, like a dick on a female statue (or, as I’ve read: like a blue dick on a pig)
- Tangled as Grandma’s yarn
- Like Vulcan Kal-tow
- Sense of menace, like the purr of a puma feasting on an elk
- As supportive as a good recliner
- Like having someone else’s shadow
- Hung around his neck like a dead skunk
- Memories jumped him like muggers in the darkness
when the click of the front door lock behind her sounds like the trumpet of angels
- Like putting toothpaste back in the tube
- dug in like a tick
- set up like a bowling pin (ala Jerry Garcia)
- as flexible as a rubber band
- fell on me and like mold, grew over the top
- on it like a NASCAR pit crew & it disappeared in minutes
- change his views like leaves change colors
- they melted away like snow from a fire
- computers are like dogs; they smell fear
- like exchanging stares with a statue
- It’s good to get up each morning as though your hair were on fire
- Belly preceding him like a cowcatcher on a locomotive
- like the difference between being thrown from the 15th and 16th floor–they both kill you
- that’s a stretch like a fat lady in ski pants
- looked like a college football player ten years out of shape
- waste you like a popsicle on a warm day
- stupider than a ball-peen hammer
- limp like an uprooted weed
- looked like a sunrise, extravagant and full of promise
- like air, you never tire of breathing it
- more beautiful than a bird dog on point
- our troops are the steel in our ship of state
- Is your garage like your garden or like your television set?
- Like a violin in a marching band
- Like a fireman, summoned only when there was trouble
- As limp as a French handshake
- Wanted to hear bad news like he wanted to remove a bandage—quickly as possible
- Collapsed like the French in Algeria
- Not unlike a long walk in tight shoes
- It’s like tinkering with the Titanic
- Vanish like my pay check during tax season?
- I felt completed, like a plant that has been watered
- She was as stiff and unyielding as a lawn chair
- She was like a cable stretched too tight and beginning to fray
- As subtle as a gun
- As much curiosity as a parsnip
- Her voice implied sexual desire the way an alto sax implies jazz
- as easy to read as a large print Tom Clancy novel
- page looks like somebody put it into a blender and hit the Whip button.
- The potential for disaster was enormous, like a family picnicking on the train tracks
- Like a rabies shot
- Winter morning was as bright as a hookers promise and warmer than her heart
- Beaming like a full moon
- As welcome as a fart in an elevator.
Click here for 70 more collections of descriptions (like sounds, emotions, and headaches–my personal favorite).
About Jacqui Murray
Jacqui Murray is the webmaster for Worddreams, her blog about all things writing. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming prehistoric fiction, Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for Ask a Tech Teacher an Amazon Vine Voice a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.
Books by Jacqui Murray
One of the recent reviews for The Quest for Home
Jacqui Murray has released another book in her prehistoric man series: The Quest for Home. With this volume she’s managed an extremely difficult trick—a sequel that picks up where the last book left off, and yet a reader who’s new to the series can start with this story and be totally engaged. If you’re not an author, maybe you don’t know how hard this is, but picture me bowing very low in homage. This constitutes a real writing victory. Trust me on this.
I call it a prehistoric man series, but the tale actually focuses on a woman—Xhosa, a strong female protagonist if there ever was one. When the story opens, Xhosa is yanked back to awareness by sheer blinding pain. She had no idea it was possible to hurt this much. And when she recalls the events that led to her torment, it only gets worse. Hawk, the warrior and leader who was going to be her mate, is gone, lost in the battle that led to her wounding. And as she tries to pick up the pieces of what her life has become and carry on, it becomes clear that she doesn’t know who she can trust now.
Meticulously researched and so vividly portrayed, The Quest for Home chronicles the Homo Erectus tribes as they spread across Eurasia in search of a new place that they can make theirs and theirs alone. We might tend to root for Homo Sapiens since that’s what we are, but our direct ancestors were relentless persecutors of Home Erectus. And that’s not even counting to formidable difficulties of weather, predators, treachery from within, and simply finding enough to eat. Our prehistoric ancestors were tough, facing challenges that would overwhelm most of us. I developed a serious sense of respect for these long-ago characters. That’s how real their portrayal is.
All lovers of the bestselling Clan of the Cave Bear should check out this book. You can thank me later.
Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon Author Page US
And: Amazon UK
Read more reviews and follow Jacqui: goodreads
Connect to Jacqui Murray
My thanks to Jacqui to getting this new series off to a great start and another post from her next week.. If you have some favourite similes.. please share them in the comments
If you would like to participate in the series, check out the link: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020