In my last scene, I had two metaphors that I want to note because both of them are good examples of two different types of metaphors (or similes) that work.

Metaphor #1

All morning, I sit, spinning my pen, while my linguistics professors click through slides, side after slide lecturing about language and rhetoric without ever allowing me to exercise that muscle. It’s like an actor memorizing his lines without ever seeing how others respond to them being spoken.

I first wrote this to be: It’s like a mathematician speaking of numbers without ever solving a problem. I thought that fit quite well, but it didn’t show who my character was. It’s a generic metaphor. So I dove into his past when he had been an actor. And this metaphor fits quite well because it expresses exactly what he’s trying to express and it’s visual.

Metaphor #2

Repeatedly she peered back over her shoulder. Actually, her whole table seemed to spy towards the back corner. Suddenly this whole pocket felt quieter like we had just stepped into the library and the whole student body mulled over the same problem.

Once my character notices her whole table focused on something, it instantly becomes clear that the whole pocket of the cafeteria is focused on something. In this scene that something is a someone, a famous basketball player at their school. To me, this is a feeling. It felt like walking into a library, where a group of students all studied all studied together; they are respecting the ambiance of the room, while still whispering back and forth about what to do. In the cafeteria, everyone whispers back and forth about how to act or how to say something.

Both of these metaphors served different purposes and both work by providing understanding and emotion that couldn’t be expressed any other way.