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My last post discussed clichés and whether they work for us or against us in our writings. Let’s backtrack to my article on Clichés to refresh our memory.

In writing, occasionally clichés work to add a little humor or character, something to make our work stand out and capture our readers attention. Clichés can also have the opposite effect by creating useless clutter in our writing and confuse the reader.’

Clichés are defined by Merriam-Webster –

1: a trite phrase or expression

also: the idea expressed by it

2: a hackneyed theme, characterization, or situation

3: something (such as a menu item) that has become overly familiar or commonplace

while Metaphors are defined by Merriam-Webster –

1: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally

denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money)

broadly: figurative language

2: an object, activity, or idea treated as a metaphor: symbol

Metaphors are used in poetry, literature, and anytime someone wants to add some color to their language, much like cliches, only in a different way.

A powerful metaphor applied in the right place can help create a vivid and clearer picture of what is being described without just stating fact. For example: He’s buried in a sea of paperwork.

Normality is a paved road. It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it. – Vincent Van Gogh

Here is a short story I wrote using metaphors. See if you can find them.

His heart of stone surprised me, perhaps, because he’s always buried in a sea of paperwork. His co-worker, she realized the weight on his shoulders and warned him no man is an island.

Could it be he was the black sheep in his family and felt safer living in a bubble then having his co-workers find out his family was a patchwork quilt? He was a stern and powerful man, his stature a tall drink of water. Though older than he looked, he felt age was a state of mind.

He was a believer in time is money, and several of his co-workers felt his ideas were a slippery slope. But, in the end his hard work paid off because he could smell success in his building and continued to push forward.

Money didn’t easily come his way. He was an honest man and not a criminal with blood on his hands. He worked diligently for every penny. He didn’t find it under a blanket of sand.

Sadly, he had no one to share it with. His life was all work and no play. Then, his life changed when he met the love of this life. She was a late bloomer, but in time became known as his better half. She taught him how to live life to its fullest and that laughter is the best medicine.

Never be afraid to be a poppy in a field of daffodils. – Michaela DePrince

Here is a brief list of metaphors –

Laughter is the best medicine

Is there a black sheep in your family?

I smell success in the building

He’s buried in a sea of paperwork

Time is money

That actor is a tall drink of water.

The criminal has blood on his hands

She has been living in a bubble

We found it under a blanket of sand

She is just a late bloomer

His heart of stone surprised me

He’s buried in a sea of paperwork

There is a weight on my shoulder

No man is an island

Age is a state of mind

Our family is a patchwork quilt

Your argument is a slippery slope

I’m pleased to meet your better half

“An idea is a feat of association, and the height of it is a good metaphor.” – Robert Frost, American Poet

Famous examples of metaphor:

  • Love is a battlefield. (Pat Benatar)
  • Each friend represents a world in us. (Anais Nin)
  • You are sunlight and I moon. (Miss Saigon)

A metaphor is a kind of magical changing room — where, one thing, for a moment, becomes another, and in that moment is seen in a whole new way. As soon as something old is seen in a new way, it stimulates a torrent of new thoughts and associations, almost as if a mental floodgate has been lifted.” – Mardy Grothe, author of I Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like

Examples of metaphor in movie lines:

  • Fasten your seat-belts; it’s going to be a bumpy night. (All About Eve)
  • Life is a cabaret, old chum. (Cabaret)
  • Say ‘hello’ to my little friend. (Scarface)

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a metaphor is worth a thousand pictures.” – Daniel Pink, author, A Whole New Mind

In conclusion, whether or not you use clichés and/or metaphors in your writings, keep writing!


Eugenia enjoyed a dedicated career in the insurance industry for over 20 years being rewarded both professionally and personally. Now it’s time for Eugenia to follow her dreams by doing things she enjoys…spending time with family, learning, sharing, traveling, writing poetry and encouraging others to pursue their goals. Eugenia’s writing and creative endeavors can be found at her blogs, Eugi’s Causerie and Eugi’s Milieu. Eugenia has authored ebooks, “Fanciful Delights” and “Mama, me and Mother Nature”. She is also a published author on Spillwords Publishing and a contributing author to the FAE Dreams Anthology and the PS: Its Poetry-PoetrySoup Anthology


Published by Eugenia

“Do you ever wonder why things have to turn out the way they do?” ― Nicholas Sparks

17 thoughts on “Metaphors

  1. Cliches can probably also be useful in dialogue. We use cliches all the time when we talk and it would probably sound odd or pretentious if we didn’t. So if you want the characters in a story to sound normal then cliches will be okay? Especially for secondary characters.

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