by Anita Mae Draper
Back in April 2009, I wrote a post on using rhetorical devices to jazz up your writing. Metaphors and similes are one of the most effective ways to do this. The Language Portal of Canada says ‘Metaphors and similes are figures of speech that you use to add colour and richness to your writing.’ (They even have a quiz.)
At one of the writing workshops I’ve attended, the instructor said she’s in the habit of flagging original writing in a book and that most books won’t have any more than a few flags. She then held up a book riddled with post-it flags. That conference was almost 3 yrs ago and I’ve always wondered if I’d ever find such a book. Or should I say… would I recognize such a book.
As of yesterday, I can tell you that yes, I have found and did recognize a book filled with so many original similes and metaphors, I started flagging them.
And so today, I’m going to entertain you with quotes from Kim Vogel Sawyer's historical romance, A Hopeful Heart, which has captured my attention with Kim’s witty, descriptive writing.
- “Paralee’s cheeks twitched as if a bumble fought for release from her mouth.”
- “Just ‘cause the others’ve agreed don’t mean you need to get swept along like a twig in the creek.”
- “You look as worn out as an old man’s slippers.”
- “…the man had as much chance as a wax cat in a burning barn…”
Kim's Metaphors and Descriptive Writing:
- “…she’d begun winging brief prayers skyward…”
- “She clacked her jaw shut.”
- “Flashes of lightning turned the clouds into Chinese lanterns.”
- “She squatted, her skirts mushrooming around her.”
- “Impatience tried to capture him…”
- “A white streak of flour decorated her left cheek.”
- “You said when a woman loves a man, her heart feels as though it would soar out of her chest. But, my heart has turned into a lump of clay. It’s heavy and dull, and it will never soar.”
- “She battered her eyelashes and tittered.”
- “I’m an utter failure at milking.”
- “She wilted with relief.”
- “His softy worded query seemed to float across the room and coil itself around her with a blanketing warmth.”
A recurring topic here at Prairie Chicks is the need to define a character by their speech patterns and idioms. A Hopeful Heart is an excellent example of this. For reasons you’ll find in the book, the heroine, Tressa, has ‘buried her affluent background’. She dresses like a normal working girl, but when her emotions are engaged, she forgets to talk like one and ends up as ‘high-falutin’ and ‘high and mighty’. Here are some of the things Tressa has said which raised eyebrows:
- “He was kind enough to see to my wound, and that is all that has transpired. I shall not allow you to malign our characters with lewd and fallacious accusations.”
- “I merely attempted to remain committed to the tasks at hand rather than allowing one of the men to distract me from my duties.”
- “I shall bow to whatever decision you make . . . If I’m to be completely truthful with you, Mrs. Wyatt, this past week has proved enlightening. I do feel adequately prepared to take on the responsibilities of housekeeping. I am not as certain I’m ready to be a wife, in every s-sense of the word.”
In another instance, Tressa is asked what’s ailing her and the conversation goes like this:
Tressa: “Just feeling . . . pensive, I suppose.”
Mrs. Wyatt: “Pensive? . . . What’n dried beans is pensive?”
After someone takes a shot at her, the hero, Abel, knows Tressa’s returning to normal when she says, “Well, he nearly frightened me to death. Hunters should exercise greater consideration when there are people nearby.”
Poor Tressa. She tried so hard to fit in. But her speech made for some memorable moments.
When was the last time you were so enthralled with a book, you flagged the parts that caught your attention?