search engine answers: develop your own metaphor

I like to imagine that those who use this search string I came across this week (and I get this one quite a bit) are students working on homework assignments. Usually the search strings are “metaphor for building” or “metaphor for being alone.” Things like that.

The one I got today was “develop your own metaphor” which I think is funny because by doing a google search on this subject you’re not actually developing your own metaphor, are you? The posts this brought to light most likely from my blog are the “make your own metaphor” posts.  This was a short series in which I challenged my readers to try their hand at the craft. I’m hoping that the searcher was able to find an answer to their query in those posts but just in case, I’ll see what I can do.

Since the searcher was not asking “what IS metaphor” I’m going to assume that he or she has that bit down. As far as developing a metaphor goes, well that’s another story.

In my opinion a well made metaphor doesn’t require a whole lot of “development.” I like metaphor that is visual, honest and cuts across a crowded room in a direct path to greet me.  I believe well drawn metaphors speak volumes without  my having to write volumes. That’s open to debate of course. One can effectively write chapters and chapters of metaphor without it being cumbersome. I’m not sure I have those skillz…

As for “developing” a metaphor I suppose what the searcher in this case was looking toward was more along the lines of adding flesh to the bones of a metaphor. I mean, I can say, “that guy is a train wreck” and that’s fairly clear. Depending upon your audience the image which comes to mind is understandable and instant. The phrase is familiar and the expression is common place. To pile on and explain more isn’t really necessary but we can flesh it out- I can talk about the cars in that train, talk about the terrain around the tracks, talk about the faulty braking system or the conductor error which may have led to this wreck.  Now if I begin to talk of wind conditions and the role of aviation in this here train wreck we inch slowly into “mixed” metaphor which can be fun…or confusing…or both…depends on where you want to take it.

At any rate, that’s my long answer to your short query, google search string friend.

I hope it earned you an A+

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