As a general rule, I don’t like similes. A writer that doesn’t like similes? Is that possible?
Sometimes, they work beautifully, creating incredible imagery and pulling me deeper into a character’s experience. Unfortunately, more often than not, they pull me out of whatever story I’m reading. Not because they don’t apply to the description, but because it’s something obscure that most people have never experienced, so I have to really think about it to visualize it or imagine how it would feel. Or, because it’s so off-the-wall, I actually find myself laughing at how ridiculous it sounds.
Like the title of this post, for example. No one has really experienced a vampire bite, and I don’t write vampire stories, so to put it into my writing would create an image that has nothing to do with the storyline, thus pulling the reader out of the story. Make sense? By the way, I totally came up with that awesome simile all on my own, but I’ve seen similar similes ;) in published books.
Let me just say, it's not my intention to offend anyone. I apologize in advance if you think my comments are evil because you love similes like the example I’ve given. We’re all entitled to our own opinions. That’s what makes the world go ‘round, right? Just because I like to pretend I’m right all the time, doesn’t mean I am. (I can’t believe I just typed that. ;D)
Maybe it’s just me, and I’m just not a simile kind of girl. :)
I admit, I have a few in my novel, but it takes quite a bit of contemplation before I’ll put one in my writing. I need to be sure it’s going to add something of value to the description and not disrupt the flow.
So, how to do all of you feel about similes? Do you think they provide valuable imagery that can’t be accomplished any other way, or do you find they detract from a story? Or is it all in the execution?
Just for fun, you can click here for a list of totally outrageous, but hilarious, similes taken from several Washington Post contests.