Debasing Your Language: Personalizing Metaphor

Understanding Writer Lingo

This is going to be a fairly brief post on metaphors that’ll set up my next post on debasing metaphors.

In my previous post, I went into how debasing language creates realism. Basically, the diction an author uses in narratives should match the diction the character would use. I also went into the specific POV I use and how that leads to me attempting to closely relate my diction to my character. However, there’s another language that needs to be debased—in a way—and that’s metaphor.

My early creative writing attempts were rife with metaphor. I had so many metaphors in my writing that people said I must see the world in metaphor and that I should be a poet. I’ll say, when I’m walking, driving, or—quite frankly—just sitting there staring at a lumpy wall, I tend to think of metaphors, so those readers weren’t quite off the mark. Being a poet, on the other hand, might be a bit of a stretch.

Before I address debasing metaphors, I’d like to go into the purpose of metaphors.

Metaphors quickly create imagery that applies to the five senses. However, metaphors are also personal and emotional. Personal in that the audience will gain a glimpse of the character’s personality, but the reader will also be able to identify with the metaphor and gain their own personal insight regarding the narrative.

In essence, metaphors appeal to a reader because the reader may see themselves in the imagery, see themselves in the narrative, see themselves even as the character as he or she experiences the fictional world the author is building.

Therefore, metaphors appeal to the reader’s five senses.

However, metaphors also appeal to the reader’s emotion.

And that is key because whenever the author is conjuring an emotional response, the reader becomes engaged and the story becomes their own.

The story is personalized.

Author: Chuck Lang

Chuck Lang is a writer of science fiction and horror. Influenced by his years as a carpenter, four years serving in the US Navy, and his fifteen years teaching literature, he holds an MFA in Writing (Fiction) from Lindenwood University. After completing his first manuscript, the supernatural horror novel DEAD GODS, in 2019, he has begun work on its two sequels, DEAD GODS: INHERITANCE and DEAD GODS: RESOLUTION. He is currently developing two additional projects, an urban fantasy horror novel and a military science fiction novel. He lives and writes near the frequently flooded Red River in Fargo, ND with his wife and two redhead sons.

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