5 May 2013

How to Create Metaphors for your Own Writing, the Easy Way - for GCSE, IGCSE and Common Entrance

Creating similes is as easy as falling off a log. Easier, maybe. So how do you take your creative writing up to the highest grades? By whipping up a few metaphors. First, you'll need to be familiar with the difference between a simile and a metaphor. Get a more advanced explanation of metaphors here.
What is the easiest way to create a metaphor?
Pathetic Fallacy, is the easiest way to start. Look at the examples below. Can you spot the difference?

Simile: It was as if the gate groaned as I pushed against it. The trees seemed to frown; the church door looked as if it were about to swallow me whole.
Metaphor: The gate groaned as I pushed against it. The trees frowned; the church door gaped to swallow me whole.
Which do you prefer?

You can use the example above, and the excellent pieces in the Pathetic Fallacy post to help you construct your own metaphors using pathetic fallacy.

Want to go a little bit further?
Try this exercise to pump up your writing skills.
1. Create a simple simile. > His hands were as cold as ice.
2. Improve your simile by adding more interesting words. > His hands were cold as hard pack ice, grizzled and grey.
3. Transform your simile into a metaphor by removing the word 'like' or 'as'. > His hands were hard pack ice, grizzled and grey.

Turn a Simile into a Metaphor in Two Steps:
Play spot the difference to see what I've done:
Her skirt was like a cabbage leaf > Her skirt hung like a wilted cabbage leaf
Her skirt was like a flag > Her skirt blew out like a flag of surrender
Her skirt was like a rose > Her skirt draped soft as rose petals, shocking pink

Step Two
Now let's transform the examples above by turning them into metaphors, like this example from Shakespeare:
Simile: Her cheeks were like faded roses. >
Metaphor: The roses in her cheeks are faded.*
*the original as written by Shakespeare

Her skirt hung, an overcooked cabbage leaf wilting over her socks.
Her skirt blew out, a flag of surrender, brilliant against the sky.

I tried to change the last one (rose-petal) but it ended up cheesy! So I guess it doesn't always work - though most times it will!

Let me know your examples in the comments below!

The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.