I was reading some reviews written by some readers of a particular novelist whom I am not familiar with. The readers were noting some of the rather bizarre metaphors that the author was using and said that if you liked the sound of these then you will like this person’s writing.
The metaphors themselves seemed a little pretentious with rather complicated and strange imagery which wasn’t really very accessible to the mind – at least not my mind. It got me thinking once again how as a writer, metaphors are meant to add to story – add to the reader’s visual perception of the storytelling. If a metaphor makes a reader stop and think “what in the heck does that mean” then I think it has lost its purpose.
Metaphors aren’t meant to make a writer sound smart.
I’m sure all of my metaphors and imagery do not have the desired effect on my readers. I’m sure I have swung and missed on some of my attempts to strengthen the meaning of a line. But as I write, my over-arching goal is simple – don’t try to sound smart, try and sound real.
That’s what I think good writing is. Words that flow in a natural and real manner. Words that paint pictures which etch out the image of the characters into vivid visualizations. Words that bring out emotion and humanity. That is the goal in my writing.
I try to keep it simple. I will not construct elaborate metaphors unless they will be completely obvious and helpful to the reader.
That’s how I approach my writing. I don’t always succeed and there is always room for improvement, but I want my writing to be accessible, real, and emotional. Not distant and pretentious sounding.
But that’s just me.