Below the cut you will a masterlist of 40+ bad habits for your character to have. Some of these bad habits are bad etiquette while some of them are bad speaking habits. Some of them are incredibly bad for your health and others are just unprofessional. Please like or reblog this post if it has helped you in any way!
Though from afar it’s easy to imagine the publishing business as either a collection of jaded gatekeepers who enjoy affirming their superiority by rejecting your work, or as a bunch of crass entertainment execs chasing the next megahit, I’ve been disappointed to find that it’s actually neither. Everyone who I’ve encountered in the book biz—from editorial to sales—seems disarmingly genuine about their love of books, and their jobs are pretty much like everyone else’s in the world, which is to say torn between reconciling their passion with the realities of the market. Every book they publish, especially if it’s by a first-time writer, is a risk to them and their reputation, and it’s one they take because they personally responded to the book. This was a revelation to me, the fact that the grand faceless facade of New York publishing turned out to be a collection of surprisingly normal people, all of whom were looking to fall in love with a manuscript.
While I do have a few essays and resources that would allow me to write something up on the theories of metaphors, I don’t find them that useful for application. So, instead, I am just going to describe a few processes that I do when I wish to add in some metaphors into my writing.
Sort By Character - The very beginning of my ‘metaphor construction’ process starts when I have created my character, or sometimes even during the midst of. For the purposes of explaining this, I am going to use one of my characters, who is called Saramil, as an example. Saramil is a young, wealthy member of high aristocracy, who works as a pastoral poet and social commentator to escape facing the prospect of inheriting his family’s (fairly boring, or at least he’d say so) land investment business. This kind of character naturally lends itself to images of gold and jewels, as obvious symbols of wealth, but what else can be taken out of these images?
Read Books With Similar Characters - While it seems to be every author’s goal to create a completely unique character, tropes and reoccurring patterns in literature are inescapable, but are necessary in the implementation of metaphors: established images make it more possible for readers to understand new creative metaphors, and are vital in forming conventional ones (an example of a conventional metaphor being “time is running out”). So, if you find a character in a book that is similar to yours in either goals or lifestyle, pay close attention to how the author describes them. Going back to the example of my character, a character that stuck with me was Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby, and found the line “her hand was wet with glistening drops as I took it to help her from the car”. The idea of nature replicating a jewel had me come up with lines such as “dripping in cold gemstones” for my own descriptions.
Research The Object - What I mean by this is actually look into what you want to make a comparison with. So, say I want to use jewels as a reoccurring symbol for Saramil, my next step is to research jewels. Questions should naturally arise from this process: What kind of jewel? What colours? Does it have any historical or cultural context behind its symbol? If you are able to with the particular image in mind, try and get a hold of the actual item and look at it for yourself. After rummaging through my mother’s jewellery box and scanning through the catalogues of auction houses, I decided to align Saramil with the symbol of an opal, since these are jewels that aren’t one colour, and change with the light and perspective, just as I want his character to reflect. This also aligns quite nicely with Shakespeare’s usage of the symbol: in Twelfth Night, Feste tells Count Orsino that “thy mind is a very opal”, to refer to his easily-changeable mind.
Branch Out - Something I try to do with as many of my metaphors as possible is interconnect them. What I mean by this is, after I have my list of symbols for each character, I try to see what connects them together, with hopes that I can find something new. One example I have already included in this explanation: both raindrops and jewels are glistening, therefore the symbols can be simultaneously recognised by a reader. One of the most established focuses of symbolism in literature is that of light and dark. Light, as one of the first creations of God, is commonly linked to as goodness and purity, but it makes for a more intriguing read if one is to subvert established images like this. To do this, I linked the glittering light of reflections of gems with a gemstone’s physical coldness and lack of value to substance: gems are only worth their appearance, since they can be used for little else directly. With the wider imagery of “light” and “reflection” now attached to the character, lots of doors are opened for metaphorical possibility.
Don’t Delete Any Metaphors You Make - This is really a comment on all writing or artwork produced, but if you come up with a metaphor, but decide that you don’t think it fits your character, don’t delete it! Make a document for them, or keep them in a scrapbook if you hand-write.
If All Else Fails, Google - If you type in “[Insert Object Here] Symbolism” or “Symbols of [Insert Personality Trait Here]” into Google, you are bound to come up with results. Just be mindful of what you take as truthful in application of your character.
I hope that helps! I can’t say my writing ‘method’ is… Well, much of a method, but I tried to make the tips coherent. Happy writing!
Writing prompts are an excellent way to stay in good writing shape. We post a daily writing prompt on our Facebook page. It is also available on our Creative Blog.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, you may enjoy an article I wrote last year about using Lyrics as Writing Prompts. I am always looking for new writing exercises, and I wanted to explore the concept of myths as prompts. I think this could be a great exercise for your writing group.
What is a myth?
A myth is a traditional, usually ancient story involving supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes. It is used to explain aspects of the natural world or to show the psychology, customs, or ideals of a society. Myths exist in every culture across the globe. Examples include Eros and Psyche, the Myth of Creation, Daedalus and Iccarus,Noah and the Great Flood, the myth of Arthur and Camelot, and The Rain Queen.
Why don’t you write a myth using one of these ideas as inspiration?
When Caroline Walter of Freiburg, Germany died at the age of 16, her sister, ,Selma, had a sculptor cast a life size sculpture for the gravestone - Every morning since Caroline’s funeral, a fresh flower was found tucked in the crook of the arm, and still is to this day - Nobody knows who leaves it - Every single morning! - Caroline died in 1867 - For 146 years, someone has been leaving flowers…
Hey, guys! I’m going to be spending a month in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji! I’m doing homestays and such, surfing, scuba diving, and so much more so please bear with me while I’m gone- I’ll have a queue, don’t worry- and I’ll come back with so much information to share with you all for life and writing!