Thursday, April 29, 2010


Taking a short break from some serious editing to share my shame . . .

I let my poetic nature run amok and horrendous-wondrous metaphors are shouting, "Look at me! I'm a writer! A really, really, really awesome writer (for the ages) who can make a metaphor out of anything. Who can sling a simile like a pizza guy slings dough!"


Right in the middle of tense and life-threatening scenes. Sheesh.

Metaphor-itis and Simile-osis were making me puke.

So, I went looking through my craft books in an attempt to confirm my diagnosis. To my surprise, I found nothing in the first two books I checked. But . . . in Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, I found this on page 203 (and didn't even have to read the example):

"The metaphor, the dark blue stolen jewels in a setting of bone, strains for effect."

Oh, ick. So do mine.

Then, "Yet the problem isn't the unworkability of the metaphor but its presence in the scene in the first place."

Nothing like confirmation, is there?

And the fifth item in the checklist at the end of the chapter reads, "Are there any figures of speech you're particularly proud of? Do they come at key moments during your plot? If so, think about getting rid of them."

Like so many other things related to writing, a little goes a long way.

Has anyone else ever suffered from these ailments?

Time to take my medicine.

CR: 212 by Alafair Burke.

It's all better with friends.


  1. Hey, they don't say, Kill your darlings for nuttin' ;)

    Don't worry, Peg, this kind of editing--being able to see yourself (or your work) from without--is a real talent in of itself. Your book will be the better for it, and I can't wait to read...

  2. I've learned to be ruthless. Well, usually.

    And truly, the sentiment about looking forward to reading our words is a two-way street.