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Metaphor, the Soul of Writing

Metaphor in writingWhat is the most important part of literary work? It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it is metaphors – understood not as tropes, but as emotional or psychological constructs.

It may be just a metaphor, or a sprawling extended one, but the reason is the same in any situation – a man feels himself a writer most of all when he finds some highly unusual correlation between two completely unrelated things, concepts, experiences, anything, a correlation never seen before. The difference between a non-writer and a writer is that the former may find out that correlation and probably even take a note of it for himself, while the latter will investigate and research it, put it into words, bring this thought to other people and thus will turn it into something greater than just a random thought that appeared in the head of a random person.

We are not speaking about trite metaphors here, of course. The important thing is that the metaphor in question should be new, original, not used before. Something that you have really created or noticed, not something you have heard sometime in the past and vaguely remembered until it popped up in your mind when prompted by some outside influence.

It isn’t even necessary for other people to see it the same way the author does – after all, his own vision of the thing is what makes him a writer. But in most cases a good metaphor will find its place in the hearts of more than one reader, because similar thoughts were probably lying dormant in the consciousness of other people.

The writer probably won’t use the metaphor he found, but the very fact that he noticed it, that he felt some underlying semblance between fundamentally different things is what makes him a writer. And a really good writer is supposed to be especially sensitive to this kind of thing.

And, probably, if one sees a metaphor that is too personal and will look too contrived to anybody else, it is still better to write it down, use it somewhere, even if you feel that nobody is going to get what you mean – because a metaphor that is never spoken aloud does not really exist. And who knows, probably it will find some resonance in someone else’s heart? After all, if something is valuable to you, maybe it is valuable to somebody else as well?

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