If you’ve been reading my blog or following me on Twitter, you’ll know I love a good simile. For most people, a simile will blend into the writing and they may not even notice they’ve read one. Or they may be more apparent in a song, for example Elton John’s famous lyric: “And it seems to me you lived your life like a candle in the wind.” Or ‘Like a Rock’ by Bob Seger, who is not technically a rock.
However, for some people, probably lots of writers, and particularly ‘simile-obsessed’ me – once you start noticing them, you’ll keep noticing them. This is a good thing, because there are so many beautifully written similes making the story come alive on the page, revealing information about characters and even foreshadowing what’s to come!
Here are seven similes I’ve read and enjoyed recently.
- “One lion had pink balloons tied to his paw, bobbing in the breeze like a cluster of airborne haemorrhoids.” – Those Pleasant Girls by Lia Weston
Lia Weston’s hilarious novel about a mother and daughter trying to fit into a town of quirky characters is filled with delicious similes, making it hard to choose only one for this blog post. This simile hints at how thrilled they are to be attending a bridal shower for a pink-obsessed, Buble-loving real estate agent.
2. “The gun slid out of Whitt’s hands as he hit the floor of the boat shed, the weight of the kayak that had been slung across the ceiling knocking him into the ground like a nail bent beneath an enormous hammer.” – Fifty Fifty by James Patterson and Candice Fox
The next instalment in the Harriet Blue series is all fast-paced action and suspense, with visual writing that drives the story forward. In this scene, Harry’s former partner confronts a serial killer.
3. “Behind us Rodney is playing basketball again. The sound of the ball hitting the wet concrete is like a hand smacking against bare skin.” – The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
Simple but active descriptions such as these set the scene as protagonist Gemma questions potential suspect Rodney over the death of his beautiful schoolteacher, creating a feeling of unease about what’s to come.
4. “She ran straight into Leo’s open arms, unable to stop the tears from falling, feeling at last defended, like a single musical note that had finally found the symphony to which it belonged.” – Her Mother’s Secret by Natasha Lester
I won’t say too much in case I spoil the surprises in this beautiful story, but this simile perfectly encapsulates an emotional scene between two of the main characters.
5. “I didn’t cry or feel anger or anything, but I shook and shook so much that it made me giggle, which made Matt look at me like I’d screamed. Honestly, it was like I was on one of those vibrating chairs in the shopping centre. Like I was a vibrating chair.” – An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire
Main character Chris narrates the story and her voice is captivating from the first few words. Her grief at identifying her dead sister is almost palpable in this scene.
6. “He advances like a floating Dracula. The menace is ruined by the sporting-goods-store bag loudly crinkling against his leg.” – The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Sally Thorne’s tale about co-workers who love to hate each other is a laugh-a-minute ride. Language like this shows how Lucinda really feels about Josh when he catches her lurking near his desk.
7. “She pulls her pad from her bag and starts to sketch the scene: the long bridge, a small figure straddling the railings, clinging on, her dress whipping around her as though desperate to pull her back from fate, her hair lifted like kite tails in the breeze.” – The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster
It’s similes such as these that make me wonder – did this just pop into the author’s head? If so, I’m very envious. You can really see the woman and feel the wind when you read this vivid description of main character Eleanor’s troubled mind.
What are you reading at the moment? Have you noticed any similes? Or have you included a few in your own work in progress? If so, please share them in the comments below.