Simile and Metaphor

Simile and metaphor are things that we use every single day, whether in writing, speech, or thought. Yet many people are unaware of the differences between them. After all, they both compare one thing to another thing – so let’s take a quick look at them side-by-side.

Simile

Simile compare one thing (A) to something else (B) by saying that A is like (or as) B. It gives the reader an idea of what thing A resembles by providing the example of thing B.

Examples of Simile

He howled like a wild dog.

Life is like a box of chocolates.

She was as happy as a clam.

So if you use the words ‘like’ or ‘as’ to compare two things together, you are using a simile.

Metaphor

A metaphor is also compares two things with each other. However, metaphors do not use the words ‘like’ or ‘as’. Instead, metaphors say that thing A is thing B, which can help to paint a more vivid picture than a simile by creating a more direct link between thing A and thing B.

Examples of Metaphor

I’ve told you a million times not to do that.

My heart jumped out of my chest.

It’s raining cats and dogs.

There are countless examples of metaphors available online (all you need to do is search on Google).

Simile and metaphor are great fun and can be very useful in your writing – practice using them to see the comparisons you can come up with!

Guest Blogging Opportunity

There are some fantastic guest blogging opportunities out there for writers who want to expand their audience and improve their chances of being published (or being published again).

My book, City of the World, was published by Creative Talents Unleashed at the end of 2015. I have also been published in several of their anthologies. This all happened because I agreed to become a guest blogger for the company, and provided three writing tips each week for several months during 2015.

The company has since expanded, and they are now looking for a new staff writer to create articles for their WordPress blog (2 per week). The writer will receive 2 free publishing opportunities each year, which I’m sure you’ll agree makes this a fantastic opportunity! You’ll have to send a letter of interest and a writing tip article to the company by email to apply (see below). Check out the Writing Tips on their WordPress blog to see the sort of thing they’re looking for!

I’ve taken the post from their Facebook page and posted it below for anyone interested.

CTU Staff Position Available: Staff Writer

Position: We are currently accepting applications for a staff writer. The staff writer will be responsible for writing 2 articles a week for our blog.

Requirements: 2 Writing Related Articles Released Per Week.
– 8 Articles a Month
Must have WordPress experience
Must have excellent research and writing skills
Must be able to meet weekly deadlines

Compensation: No Cost Publishing Services twice a Year

To Apply: Write a letter detailing why you would like to be a staff writer for CTU. Write a writing tip related article to provide a sample of your writing skills. Email your letter of interest and article to: info@ctupublishinggroup.com to apply.

I suggest that eager writers consider this opportunity. If you’re not ready for this kind of commitment, however, you should still follow their Facebook page –  CTU publishes several poetry (among others) anthologies per year and is always looking for new authors!

What’s in a Character’s Name?

How do you go about selecting names for your characters?

In a short story, flash fiction, quick piece of poetry, or example, a name can be just that: a name. It might not even be a full name. Sometimes, the reader will not even learn the name of the character at all.

In longer pieces of writing, such as novels, names are a much more important element. They do not always have to have deep significance, although they could always portray a hint of what their character is like. Think of Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter books, whose first name references Remus and Romulus, who were raised by wolves, and whose surname is a form of the Latin word for “moon”. His name is one big clue to the secret that he is a werewolf.

Names can be a significant part of our characters in other ways, too. Sticking with the Harry Potter theme, let’s think about Albus Dumbledore. It would have made no difference to the story if his name had been Jack Smith, but there’s no denying it would have robbed the character of some of his power. The name alone is designed to impress upon the reader a certain sense of awe about the character – in the same way that calling a character Judas will give the reader a distinct impression.

In the same sense, silly or ridiculous names can distract readers from a serious story. It can be amusing to give a character a quirky name, but think carefully before you do – you may be giving them this name forever, and you do not want a bad name to stick.

It is important, therefore, not to simply pick a character’s name out of a hat at random. It is a careful decision to make, even more so when it is an invented name. Having a list of words and names – real, invented, or both – is always a good idea for an eager writer. Many of these may never amount to anything – but when you find the right name, you will be thankful you took the time to make your decision.

5 Things to Start Writing About Right Now

Think you’ve got nothing to write about? Think again. There are endless ways to inspire yourself, and here are just 5 ways to begin right now.

  1. A stranger you’ve seen recently

Strangers are merely people whose stories we don’t know yet. As a writer, creating characters is something that we all do with an image in mind. Both physically and mentally, these may be somebody we’ve seen in our own lives. We can do this either consciously or subconsciously. Think of somebody you’ve seen recently who remained in your mind, whether because of their appearance or their actions, and write their story.

  1. A conversation you’ve overheard

Sometimes, we catch a conversation at just the right time. Passionate conversations, such as arguments and reunions, can cause us to wonder at their beginnings – and endings. Think of someone you heard someone say recently, and fill in the gaps in their conversation.

  1. A moment in your life that you will never/never want to forget

We are defined by those moments in our lives that we cannot or do not wish to forget. These can be good moments that change our lives for the better, or bad moments that we must find the strength to overcome. Depending on their nature, we can write about them in different ways: a letter to somebody who was cruel, a poem about someone we love or someone we lost, an article to encourage and inform, a story based on real events, and so on. Oftentimes, these are the pieces which display the most emotion – and bring out all our skills as writers.

  1. A place you love/want to visit

The world is a place of beauty that is waiting to be explored. Whether somewhere we have already been or somewhere we have yet to discover, writing about it can open avenues of description that can challenge our abilities as writers as we attempt to put the beauty of that place into mere words on a page.

  1. A thought that is spinning around in your head

A lyric, a title, a sentence, an idea … whatever it is, our heads are filled with many things that never make it onto paper. Pluck a thought out of your head and write it down, then allow your imagination to develop it from there.

Writing Tip: Detox by Writing

A great writing tip! Writing is something that I believe more people should use to work out their negative feelings – it’s an excellent form of therapy.

Creative Talents Unleashed

photo-13Writing has always been a form of therapy for me. It helped in my youth while living with an abusive father and to this day, I can use writing to exert those negative emotions rather than taking my frustrations out on another person. Over the years, I have learned to use my poetry to target specific topics, causes and be a little more positive, but there’s no better form of detoxing than writing.

Life can get chaotic, and more and more people have a habit of keeping their feelings bottled up and eventually explode with regrets of harsh words said. You can be a single mom with no time or anyone to talk to, a teenager with peer pressure issues or even a veteran who is coping with PTSD. If you can’t afford a therapist, then writing is definitely the next best thing. Even if you are not a skilled…

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Direct Speech and Reported Speech

Direct speech and reported (or indirect) speech are two ways of writing something that somebody has said. Depending on the type of writing and the effect they wish to create, writers can use either direct or reported speech.

Direct speech is used to say something exactly as somebody said it.

Examples:

“Let’s go to the cinema,” said Martin.

“I love dogs!” I exclaimed.

“Are you guys ready to leave yet?” Dad asked.

As you can see, writers use direct speech all the time. However, there are times when you might want to write about something that somebody said without using an exact quote. You may be writing an article or one of your characters may be telling another what they overheard. An amusing (or dangerous) little plot point could be that they don’t report the original speaker’s words properly and the original meaning becomes lost.

On occasions such as these, writers can use reported or indirect speech.

Examples:

Martin suggested that we go to the cinema.

I told him I loved dogs.

Dad asked them whether they were ready to leave.

The use of reported speech can also affect the way in which the reader responds to the statements. For instance, in the middle example (“I love dogs!”), direct speech allows the reader to understand the excitement of the speaker, but in the report example this excitement is lacking.

For more information on the differences between direct and reported speech (and how they work in different tenses in English), visit this website: Perfect English Grammar.

5 Things Not to Worry About When Writing Your First Draft

Creating the first draft of a novel is a long and complicated process. It is easy to become distracted from what is important: consistency, logic, and readability are typically my main focuses. Here are 5 things not to worry about when writing your first draft so that you can keep your attention fixed on the story you’re trying to create.

  1. Spelling/Grammatical Errors

Writing ‘their’ instead of ‘there’ or ‘the’ instead of ‘then’ is something that all writers do. Ignore the spelling errors when you spot them, and fix your attention on the world or the characters you are trying to create. You won’t be able to get them all – that’s what the editing process is for. And you’ll go through several (if not more) other drafts before you even get to that stage. For a first draft, readability is of more importance than these little mistakes.

  1. Missing Words/Punctuation Marks

Sometimes, when you return to what you were writing after a break – a cup of coffee, a sleep, a holiday – you notice words or punctuation marks that you missed (or duplicated) the last time you wrote. Don’t waste your time going back through what you wrote to find and correct these errors – focus on the content of your writing, and return to how it is written at a later time.

  1. Writing a Story from Beginning to End

Stories, essays, articles, poems – lots of things that you read, whether online, in books, or in journals, has not been written by the author going from point A to point B all the way through the point Z. Authors can jump in and out of scenes and parts of the text, then piece them all together to create a first draft. So long as you have a plot outline for each section, you can move around when you write, according to your inspiration – this helps a great deal when trying to create a consistent pattern of speech for individual characters.

  1. Filling in the Little Plot Holes

Big plot holes are a big problem, but small plot holes are more difficult to identify, especially when working on a first draft. Eventually, you’ll want to get rid of these niggling little issues to create a more logical narrative, but if you spot them during a first draft merely make a note in the document (or somewhere else you will spot it) and come back to it later. Focus on the glaring points that need to be made for your story to progress towards its ending.

  1. Creating the Next Best-Seller

It would be awfully nice to see the cover of your book in shop windows, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, sitting and daydreaming about it won’t get your story written, and it won’t get it any closer to being published – whether independently or by that publishing house you’ve got your eye on. You can’t create a best-seller every time you write. If you’ve never been published before, then your first book is unlikely to leap off the shelves into readers’ hands – that’s why you have to keep writing!

Remember: your first draft will likely be very different from your final draft. There will be things to add, things to remove, and things to alter – but those things can come later.

Introducing “Writing Tips ~ Exploring The Writer’s Path Volume 1”

Many of my writing tips are featured on Creative Talents Unleashed and in their anthology Writing Tips Volume 1: Exploring the Writer’s Path – check it out here!

Creative Talents Unleashed

Writing Tips Volume 1

Introduction

Do you dream of being a writer? Have you already dabbled with words, but still need some help finding your style on paper? Or are you one of those who have so much to write, but just can’t find the time to get the task done? This book could be your saving grace. Put together by a group of talented writers from the Creative Talents Unleashed family, Writing Tips Vol. 1 is for any level of writer.

I believe everyone can write. If you can carry on a simple conversation, then you are capable of writing. Some just don’t know where to start. You don’t have to be educated or have a degree to be a good writer. Some of the greatest writers in the world didn’t have that opportunity when they started writing. If you’ve written in a journal or a letter, you’re already an author. You just…

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A Fun Writing Exercise (to help boost your creativity!)

Today, I’d like to share a little writing exercise I do to help me feel more creative and jump start my writing. It only takes 10 minutes (but you can choose to change the time you spend on it if you wish).

To begin, I decide on one of the following:

  • The beginning sentence of a story.
  • The final sentence of a story.
  • One sentence synopsis of a story.
  • The first line of a poem.
  • The final line of a poem.
  • One sentence description.

This is usually whatever suits my writing needs at the time.

The next thing I need is a prompt word or image. Sometimes I get these off other WordPress sites; sometimes I take them from things I’ve read; sometimes I use an object in my room; and sometimes I use something I saw or overheard during the day. This becomes the thing that I will write about.

I then pick up a pen and a piece of paper, and set my phone to time me for five minutes. I’ll then write as many different examples as I can from that prompt within that time, and stop after the five minutes are up.

Then I’ll put the paper aside, and I won’t look at it again for a few days. Once those days are up, I’ll go back to what I wrote and decide which sentences/lines/descriptions to use and develop further, and which to abandon.

Often, what was supposed to be a first or last line becomes something completely different. The fun thing about this exercise, other than the way it helps me to generate writing ideas, is that I can see just how many different things I can come up with from a single prompt. It’s really useful!

Let me know if you give this a try, and tell me if it works for you!

Colons and Semicolons

We all use colons and semicolons incorrectly sometimes. They’re incredibly easy to confuse or use at the wrong time, especially when you’re trying to ‘spice up’ your writing by throwing in something more exciting than a comma or a full stop. Here’s some quick examples to help you with their use.

The Colon

The colon is used to introduce extra information related to the first part of the sentence.

Examples

There are lots of ways to use a colon:

  1. To make a bulleted/numbered list (see?)
  2. Or to make a list in the sentence, e.g. “Before you begin writing, make sure you have: a pen, some paper, a snack, and a glass of wine (for inspiration).”
  3. To define a word or phrase. “Facebook: a website I spend way too much time on when I should be writing my essay.”
  4. To explain a statement. “I don’t trust him: his eyes are too close together.”
  5. To introduce a quotation or reported speech. “As Mr Trump said: ‘We’re gonna win so much, you may even get tired of winning!'”

The Semicolon

The semicolon joins together two clauses that could be written as separate sentences. It can help you vary the lengths of your sentences and make your writing more interesting for your readers.

Examples

Here’s a few ways to use the semicolon:

  1. To join two sentences together, e.g. “She was pretending not to know what I meant; however, I wasn’t fooled.”
  2. As a replacement for ‘and’. “I like the green one; he likes the blue.”
  3. In the place of commas in a long or complicated list. “We visited lots of great places in New York: Central Park; the Statue of Liberty; the Empire State Building; and the Natural History Museum, just to name a few.”
  4. To create a ‘pause’ that is longer than a comma but shorter than a full stop (extremely useful in poetry).

 

Happy writing!