I love a good analogy.  I’m fairly quick at coming up with them, and I use them often in conversations with friends.  I also appreciate when others come up with a clever comparison, especially if it makes a confusing concept easier to understand.  My favorite is one I came up with to help clarify the phases of mitosis for my mom: think of it as a divorce.  The cell works out the division of the “kids” (the genetic material) first before splitting up the rest of the stuff.  🙂

As authors we can use analogies in a similar way to metaphors and similes, but we need to be careful.  A good author crafts new comparisons, new ways of thinking about something.  Using an existing comparison, however, can come across as uncreative, and if it’s a frequently used analogy, it reads as tired.

I don’t use analogies as much in my writing as I do in my everyday conversation.  Most of mine are done on the fly, in order to better explain a concept or a situation to a friend.  When I get a chance to develop one a little more deeply, it can be fun, and working on analogies for the sake of practice is a good exercise as a writer.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. deshipley
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 16:37:56

    New, off-the-wall analogies are like… well, okay, I can’t think of anything good off the top of my head, just now. But they’re big fun, is the point!


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