Stronger Writing–Strong Verbs, Similes or Metaphor?

The question arises, “When do I use a strong verb? When a simile? When a metaphor?”

The answer is one you will have to discover for yourself as you wrestle with your writing.  Do you prefer, “The quails waltzed across the road” or “The quails waltzed across the road like Viennese dancers,” or “The quails were Viennese dancers as they waltzed across the road”?  The latter two introduce the concept of Vienna which could either add to your writing or detract from it. I don’t know about you, but when I read “Vienna,” I think, “whipped cream.” The question is whether you want me to think, “whipped cream.”

If I were choosing among the three examples above, I’d consider what I was trying to accomplish in the writing.  If I wanted to focus on the wildlife, I’d probably go with the strong verb. If I were going to develop a travel piece, I might well include the second example, the simile.

Remember, sometimes when you are trying to think of a strong verb or a particularly inventive noun, you may make more progress by expanding your thinking to develop possible similes and metaphors.

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One Response to Stronger Writing–Strong Verbs, Similes or Metaphor?

  1. John Nordlinger says:

    This is a great site for writing tips.

    Speaking of which of love Linnet Harlans Barbies short script. Linnet if you are willing, I’d love to shoot it as a short film, given your permission. Please let me know and keep up the great work!
    cheers,
    John

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