Poetry writing tips – what is metaphor?


Hey everyone Anna from Girls on Key dot com. We do videos about poetry and writing. Today’s video is about metaphor; how to use metaphor effectively. What is it? How do we use it? Hi, so today we’re talking about metaphor how to use it, what it is and thank you for April for recommending that we make this video, and it’s from An Editor Speaks series. I’m an editor 15 years experience, so hopefully some of this will help in your writing. So I’m going to define the top three types of metaphor, which are metaphor itself, simile and analogy. Then we’re going to talk about how to use those in your writing. So one book which has really helped me is called Surfaces and Essences: The Fuel and Fire of Creativity. It’s such a great book. I got it for my birthday. It is very big and very intense and I got about halfway but what I’ve read so far I really love. Creativity experts such as Edward de Bono talk about how comparing and contrasting things and finding links between them is basically what all of creativity is. It is finding how to use one thing to compare and contrast and to look at the kind of the qualities of that object or that thing in comparison to another thing. I don’t like the word thing but you get what I’m saying. So I’m just going to define the big three first. So metaphor is when we use one thing in place of another. So we look at the qualities of something and then we look at something else and we replace it, for example, I could write “The cat was a guard on the wall.” Or “The cat was a sentry on the wall.” Now what that does is that we imagine in our head this cat as a guard; as a sentry. And we look at the qualities of that cat looking over the wall and guarding something, whether that be a mouse. Whatever he’s guarding, a house, a person and so, we look at him as a guard. Now the difference between metaphor and simile. Simile uses the word like or as to soften the metaphor a little bit. So we say the cat was like a guard or like a sentry. So what that does is it it causes us to think well How is it like a guard or a sentry? So he was he was kind of like one, but how? And so sometimes when I use simile I like to think about qualifying in a little bit. So how was he like a guard or a sentry? What was he doing that was like that? And so we used simile first and say the cat was like a guard he watched his mouse intensely. and so then we know okay, that’s the quality, that’s why he was like a guard yeah? There’s another type of metaphor, which is called analogy. Now analogy is often used in academic writing and other types of writing where it’s an in-depth look at like a logical argument as to the similarities between something. So analogy is a little bit different. It’s often used an academic and nonfiction texts, and it looks at the difference between ideas mainly as opposed to objects. But it can look at objects as well. And it’s very similar. A lot of people do get confused by it. So analogy could be that you’re thinking about say, the idea of war and then you’re thinking about the idea of relationships. And you’re exploring the comparisons between those in depth and you’re thinking well let’s say that two people are fighting in a relationship. How is that like a war and it’s teasing out the metaphors within those concepts. So analogy actually can use a number of metaphors within it to compare and contrast ideas rather more than things, but it does use things as well; objects as well. So I hope that makes sense. Have a look, have a Google at those three because I believe they all come under the banner of metaphor. So just to recap. So the differences are: So metaphor looks at comparing one object directly to another by replacing it, so saying the cat is a guard. Simile just compares and contrasts using like or as, so saying the cat was like a guard and often it will have a qualifier, because or he did this and therefore that’s the particular aspect of the comparison. And analogy is when, looking more at ideas, getting more into depth of a number of metaphors that compare across a broader idea or concept. Alright, so hopefully that’s made sense. Now I’m going to also link to another book by Edward de Bono, who talks about how to become more creative. And what he does is he looks at linking ideas. So you have one word and then you think how do I link that word to another word? And that’s the essence of creativity. So that’s an exercise that you might like to do in order to fuel your creativity so writing down one word and another word. What are the building blocks or steps. In three steps how am I going to get from one concept to another? And that will build your creativity and your ability to use metaphor in a fresh way. So you might want to open up a dictionary, pick one word and pick another word. Now you’re taking steps between those words to reach it, so what are the connections? So it’s helping you to think about the connections and the differences and the similarities and just what your brain, how your brain works at firing to look at how those ideas or objects compare yeah? So that’s one great exercise. I’ll link to the Edward De Bono book in the comments. I mean, sorry, in the description. Yeah, and that’s all I really wanted to say. So I’ll just recap so creativity is actually built around analogy and metaphor. So I metaphor and analogy are the essence of what creativity is about and you can learn to be more creative by thinking about the links between things and then using those big three metaphor, analogy and simile in a fresh way. Think about your own take on it, rather than cliches. Maybe have an ask, if you think it might be cliche. Maybe ask someone to have a read through, an editor and say: Is this fresh? Is this cliche? And I hope that these points have helped. If there’s anything else that you want to hear from me as an editor, drop them in the comments below and we’ll see you in the next video. Thanks guys.

1 thought on “Poetry writing tips – what is metaphor?

  1. Ok, so I just came in from a friend's home and couldn't click fast enough 🙂 I"m going to listen now.

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