Writing Lessons

I enjoy telling and writing stories. Sometimes I’m pretty good at it. But recently I realized that I am missing a huge literary component in my writing (besides spelling and a basic understanding of the English language). I repeatedly fail to use similes in my writing.

I know that many of you have noticed this glaring omission and I intend to rectify this situation by illustrating some basic similes. I believe you and I will both learn something in the next few paragraphs and I look forward to your feedback like a death row inmate waiting to hear from the governor.

Speaking of prison, (not that you were) I get quite a few letters from prisoners. Please understand that they are not writing me at my home address. I work in a law firm and my job is to speak with each caller or writer, collecting the information related to their potential claim. This, of course, provides a wonderful opportunity to speak with people who believe they were wronged, like a customer service agent at Enron.

I hear tragic stories from people whose lives have been irrevocably altered by injury and injustice. This would be heartbreaking if I had to listen to these stories all day, every day. Thankfully, I also hear the humorous ramblings of institutionalized patients and incarcerated inmates. I also get to speak with people who, by some clerical error, have avoided the aforementioned facilities. Occasionally, I get to speak to the same person several times, like an Australian throwing a kangaroo into the breeze, it always hops right back. [Note the skillful use of International Simile]

My job is as interesting as the episode when the Brady Bunch Visits Kings Island. For instance, I recently received a letter from an inmate convicted of rape who is now suffering terrible testicular pain (no simile needed here). There was the gentleman who was in jail for armed robbery who had his upper extremity amputated due to infection.

I have had the privilege of speaking to doctors who want to sue doctors, like…well, I don’t know what that is like but it is still funny.

I spoke with a husband who was mad because the doctor didn’t honor his wife’s living will. Now she is back home and doing fine. If someone would have listened to him she’d be dead now. Like an electrician fixing a running blender, this man was waiting for someone to pull the plug.

I received one call from a woman who wanted to find a loved one’s body part. It had been removed prior to his death because of infection and she wanted to know where it was. Like a hamburger without a pickle, this man just wasn’t complete.

There was the call from the man who was walking with his brother, lamenting the bad luck their family had suffered in the past year, when a driver ran him down and dragged him 100 yards under the car. Like an author who can’t think of similes when writing this blog, the only thing he could do was pray.

And that brings us back to the beginning: Using More Similes. I hope you have learned a few pointers when it comes to writing similes. I know that it has been beneficial for me.
Join me next time when we tackle the often-overlooked Onomatopoeia.

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