Monday, January 02, 2006

New Blades for Old Saws

I'm a sucker for exaggerated similies and metaphors.
I beam upon certain kinds of vivid comparisons.
Teeth. Smirk to the ears.
It may indicate low taste but I don't care. An author who can twist the language has me for life.
During her year end Up Helly Aa immolation of herself and synopses, Miss Snark produced one of her habitual lines: "as overheated as Sister Mary Margaret in a porn arcade."
Now literary snots...er...snobs might describe this as literary burlesque, but I love it.
Kathy Reichs does it in her Temperance Brennan series. From Monday Mourning:" To say Bergeron was peculiar looking is like saying fudge contains a wee bit of sugar."
Elizabeth Peters in her Vicky Bliss mysteries belongs to the same clan,
"Pietro couldn't be the mastermind...It was possible there were things going on in the palace that he didn't know about; it was a huge pile, a city block square, three or four stories high; there was room enough there to train a guerilla army without his noticing."
Of course, that series got me from the opening line of the Street of the Five Moons:" I was sitting at my desk doing my nails when the door opened and the spy sneaked in."
And there's Dark Places by Jon Evans:
"He had browbeaten me into coming with him, knowing I didn't have the mental strength to argue probably thinking that I would thank him later.
I'll thank him with a two by four, I thought. I'll show my gratitude with a ball-peen hammer."
~squeezing eyes shut~ Yes. Exactly.
I will never, never, ever get tired of it.

12 comments:

Dennie McDonald said...

That's funny - I use those kind of devices often - but more in forms of analogies - I can't help it - I do it in every day life - I have to use it in my books.

Savannah Jordan said...

Hey, Bernita! I am with you on this one! Give me an image that I can see (when I'm reading) -- and gods willing -- I give images that intense back (when writing).

Ric said...

Exactly right. We all love authors who can create an unexpected line that creates an image, conveys the thought with humor but doesn't tear you from the narrative.

She had always wanted to get to that mythical point where the earth moves; she did not expect the powerful earthquake building slowly, followed by the tsunami roaring over her.

Bernita said...

Ahh.
Thank you.
I am not alone in my carnivorous tastes.
Slurp.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I too, love to think in those terms, it's sorta' like there's another person in there translating what your saying.

I must admit some of those images are so unexpected that they make me snort coffee!

Daisy Dexter Dobbs said...

I wholeheartedly agree. It’s refreshing and stimulating to discover those memorable little gems.

I’ve truly enjoyed reading your interesting posts over the months, Bernita, and look forward to many more! :-D

M. G. Tarquini said...

I just wrote one boiling up somebody's private parts, but...I won't share it here.

Bernita said...

It's something Bonnie, Daisy and Mindy are VERY good at too.

Aethlos said...

Happy new year. :)

Bernita said...

The same to you, Aethlos, and thank you for stopping by.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I love similes and metaphors. I love that visual image the cuts right to the core of what the author's conveying. Interesting topic!

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