Posted by: episystechpubs | October 29, 2013

Editor’s Corner: Metaphor and Imagery

Good morning everyone! I have a special treat for you today. The two types of figurative speech we’re going to look at are imagery and metaphor. The imagery is a treat because I have some samples from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, better known in the Internet world as “The Bad Writing Contest.”

First, a couple definitions from the grammar section of

  • metaphor: A trope or figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common. For example: “Humor is the shock absorber of life; it helps us take the blows." (Peggy Noonan, What I Saw at the Revolution, 1990)

· imagery: Vivid descriptive language that appeals to one or more of the senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste).

The following examples of bad writing and imagery are from past years ofThe Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

Warning: If you have delicate sensibilities or are easily offended by bad writing, you may want to skip this part.

The corpse exuded the irresistible aroma of a piquant, ancho chili glaze enticingly enhanced with a hint of fresh cilantro as it lay before him, coyly garnished by a garland of variegated radicchio and caramelized onions, and impishly drizzled with glistening rivulets of vintage balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic oil; yes, as he surveyed the body of the slain food critic slumped on the floor of the cozy, but nearly empty, bistro, a quick inventory of his sense told corpulent Inspector Moreau that this was, in all likelihood, an inside job.—Bob Perry, Milton, MA

She strutted into my office wearing a dress that clung to her like Saran Wrap to a sloppily butchered pork knuckle, bone and sinew jutting and lurching asymmetrically beneath its folds, the tightness exaggerating the granularity of the suet and causing what little palatable meat there was to sweat, its transparency the thief of imagination. —Chris Wieloch, Brookfield, WI

For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss—a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.—Molly Ringle, Seattle, WA

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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