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“Snow-sleet coming down / Like alabaster flowers raining / down on me.”

“Seagulls struggled to fly against the wind. They were like kites getting flung around, as flimsy as rag dolls.”

“Realization sets over me, / Like the winter sun over the countryside.”

“I climbed up the ladder then paused, positioning myself as if I were a famous actor making an entrance on stage.”

This issue of Stone Soup is full of breathtaking metaphors—metaphors that suggest an image of such beauty that they make me literally catch my breath (“Like alabaster flowers raining / down on me”!), metaphors that make me smile, metaphors that seem just right. Yes, I think. How could that be described in any other way? The metaphor is one of my favorite craft elements in writing because of that feeling of “just-rightness” it can elicit deep inside me.

But metaphors need to be wielded wisely! Using too many metaphors, or using them carelessly, can result in what we call “mixed metaphors,” which create confusion—and even comical results. Think: “Flying like a bird, the cloud sailed above my head and then stopped, floating serenely like an innertube.” I have three separate metaphors in that sentence, making it impossible for one image to settle in my mind—is the cloud like a bird or a boat or an innertube? (Of course, as with all things artistic, you can use mixed metaphors—just do so intentionally!)

I encourage you to sit down and think up some of your own metaphors. Save your favorites and put them into your next piece of writing.