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51 Great Similes to Spark Imagination

08 Feb

I love similes. They say more in 5-10 words than a whole paragraph. They are like spice to a stew, or perfume to an evening out. They evoke images far beyond the range of words.

Simile–the comparison of two unlike things using the word ‘like’ or ‘as’. As bald as a newborn babe. As blind as a bat. As white as snow.

Wait–no self-respecting writer would use those. Similes are as much about displaying the writer’s facility with her/his craft as communicating. We are challenged to come up with new comparisons no one has heard before. I’ve seen contests on writer’s blogs for similes and most leave me bored, if not disgusted. It’s harder than it looks to create a simile that works. Look at these I found on G+:

  • #1 – Being with him was like sitting through a Twilight Marathon, all sparkles and self-loathing.
  • #2 – She was as nervous as my guinea pig, Mittens, when we turned him loose in the hog-stall last winter. Soon we found out that he wasn’t THAT sort of a pig .
  • #3 – The snow fell like billions of breadcrumbs, promising a flurry of activity and a huge pile of shit in the aftermath .
  • #4 – Her eyes were as blue as the ink in my pen, that trickled its life’s blood gently down the front of my pocket, as I tried in vain to get her attention..
  • #5 – His hair soared in the wind like a captive egret, finally released into the wild. Not a minute had passed before a passerby made a joke about “if it was truly yours, it’ll come back to you…” He punched that person.

OK, there’s one more rule about similes: Make them concise. If you look at the tried-and-true ones above, you’ll notice they’re pithy and quick:

  • dead as a doornail
  • blind as a bat
  • dry as dust
  • good as gold

They also seem to benefit from alliteration, though that isn’t required.

I’ve started collecting the ones I read that I like, hoping they’ll spark my imagination when the need arises. Enjoy these (and the occasional metaphor thrown in):

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