“He was backing away, holding out both stiff trembling hands like a man intently describing the length of a short fish.”
Guess which modern classic this simile is taken from? Hint: the book was made into a film in recent years starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
Revolutionary Road is a pretty good novel but this simile made me laugh, out loud. I mean, I get the image and what he meant by it, but it’s a tad awkward.
Of late, whenever I come across a simile, I find a lot of them are clumsy rather than clever (and I know I’m guilty of a few misses - that dodgy headline simile belongs to moi and yes, I was being deliberately bad).
But perhaps it also depends on the narrative. I rarely use similes in third person because they just seem forced or at best, odd. And there’s the old rule of not using clichés but again, I think if you’re writing in first person, they can be the character’s personality trait.
Another author (Australian) wrote this, “She gave him a look to curdle milk.”
This was from a novel written in third person that had a number of sloppy things throughout it, although the writer is a renowned author. I wondered if the real issue here is lack of time and perhaps limited resources in editing (these days, there are only so many times a novel can be edited and proofread). But that’s another story.
I think we can get away with one or two clichés in first person narrative but in third person, probably best to hit the delete button.
Diet tip, hmm, hard one. I know, it’s hot, so if in need of a treat, buy an ice cream and enjoy it outside. Most of it will melt away before it makes your mouth...