by Barbara McNichol
Teaching a fitness class week after week could get repetitious. A good instructor motivates action while guiding people in their exercises. My instructor likes to interject colorful similes to keep us going. And I suspect it’s also her way of staying sharp and engaged, too.
In a recent class, while describing what not to do while on all fours, the instructor said, “Think of an overburdened mule in a spaghetti Western movie and don’t slump your back like that.” Later, while on our tummies, she told us to lift our arms “like you’re jumping out of an airplane.” Great visual!
Her imagery boosts our enjoyment and helps make the point of the exercise stick. And what’s good for fitness is also good for your writing. Sprinkle similes and other figures of speech into your prose so readers can visualize your point more easily.
Examples from a fitness class:
“Drop your head to your shoulder like it’s a 10-pound bowling ball.”
“Flatten your back like you could put a tray of food on it.”
For over 50s who remember typewriters: “Shift your ribs to the side like the carriage on a typewriter.”
Example from a book:
This excerpt is from Martha Beck’s Finding Your Own North Star. I recommend Martha’s books for the sheer delight of seeing how she applies similes, metaphors, and other figures of speech to her points and stories.
If you’re planning to wait for them [your family] to locate your true path, draw you a careful map, pack you a lunch, and drive you to your North Star, you might want to take up needlework. I hear it passes the time.
Similes lead to smiles. Please share examples of similes that captured your imagination below.