Metaphors and How to Develop Your Characters Part 4

Henrietta The Dragon Slayer by Beth Barany

If we readers love your characters, then we’ll go with them just about anywhere.

Last week I talked about sharing the telling detail about a character through nouns and verbs.

As writers, it’s our job to use language to have readers fall in love with our characters. One of the most powerful tools we have are metaphors and similies.

A refresher from

Metaphors “are a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in ‘A mighty fortress is our God.’ “

Similes “are a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared, as in ‘she is like a rose.’ ” We can also use “as” instead of “like.”

In my novel Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, I always used similes that related to Henrietta’s past as a black smith’s apprentice. It’s what her subconscious would access. I wanted my readers to really “get” her.

Some examples:

Heaviness pressed against her chest like an anvil, preventing breath from fully entering her lungs.

The old woman’s voice scratched at Henrietta’s ears like uncut iron being rubbed against itself.

Her chest expanded and contracted like great bellows.

Henrietta grew up around animals in the country. I never really state that outright. Instead, I use references in my similes. Here’s an example:

He walked toward her like a colt unsure on its legs, but he didn’t fall over and moved quite fast.

“You’re as fickle as the mountain winds.” Henrietta urged her horse forward. 

I may have used metaphors in my novel, but I can’t find them with a search right now. 🙂

What do you think about using metaphors and similes to develop your characters in your novels? Thanks! I love hearing from you! We love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love and adoration, for the month of August, everyone who leaves a comment to this post and any post on the Writer’s Fun Zone I will enter your name in our giveaway. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you’ll get your name in the giveaway twice.

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  • Alica says:

    I think well placed metaphors and similes can add a lot to a character, esp when it relates back to their past.

  • Beth Barany says:

    I agree, Alica! Such details can really add dimension to our characters.

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