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Exploring the use of metaphors and similes in Gone Dragon.

A writer can sometimes become so passionate about certain details in their story that literal descriptions are simply not enough. Metaphors and similes can make the details flourish. For this reason, I would love you to take a closer look with me at how I used metaphors and similes in Gone Dragon.

Just Quickly…

A metaphor is a word or phrase used to compare unlike things to give a richer description.

A simile is a method of comparison of one thing with something else as a tool of emphasis, usually using linking them with the word ‘like’ or ‘as’.

Ok - into the good stuff!

I had to do it!

In Gone Dragon – Book I, metaphors and similes come in handy often. Some I created to give a rich visual kick to what was going on:

“Together they ran northward from the house. Magnus leaped across the rise of the open field like a gazelle in stark contrast to Ganister’s bull-like, lumbering motions. Equally as effective, they never left one another’s side.”

Here, Magnus and Ganister are nothing alike in physical appearance, but they both fled for their lives down the field toward the Crescent Woods in their own way and with a common purpose. The leaping gazelle and the lumbering bull. Now there’s a picture, and I like to think it makes the scene pop in your mind.

I have used similar comparisons in other ways in Gone Dragon to give a deeper description to how a character feels about a situation they are in:

“Magnus gazed once again into the depths of the river where a trout swam against the current toward the small waterfall a hundred yards upstream. “What then, when you reach the waterfall?” he lamented.”

By this stage in Book I, nothing seems to be going right for Magnus. Life seems to be going against him. Having received some devastating news, Magnus simply does not see a path to happiness. In this metaphor with the trout, Magnus sees himself in what the fish is trying to achieve.

Repeatedly…

This comparison is used numerous times to provoke a form of foreshadowing (more on foreshadowing another time). 

“Magnus decided to follow the creek upstream, hoping it would guide him westward…”

Once again with the 'upstream' and this time, it's Magnus who is walking upstream. He must be walking into trouble. Is it the path he should be taking? Sure enough and within moments, Magnus comes upon a stream of blood coursing its way down the river.

“Magnus followed the blood trail upstream. It led him to an outcrop of rock on the southern bank atop which a discarded arrow rested.”

…And there’s a lot of trouble waiting for Magnus here. Indeed, this chapter is entitled “Confrontation”! Furthermore, he is not the only character to travel upstream to their detriment. It is likely not something every reader noticed as a recurring theme or hint of foreshadow, but it may just have tickled your subconscious a little!

Can you find other metaphors, similes or comparisons in Gone Dragon – Book I? Are there any recurrences that draw your attention? 

Blood, fire, dragons and rivers.

Many objects in Gone Dragon represent certain themes, emotions or connections in Gone Dragon and are there to conjure up associative feelings between characters and/or situations. The above four words are important in both Magnus and Catanya’s lives. 

Blood: blood means connection to others, life force, history, honour and commitment.

Fire: fire is powerful and can mean destruction, power, desire and passion.

Dragons: dragons are powerful, wise, protective and dangerous.

Rivers: can mean pleasure and peace, direction and flow. They can be convoluted or powerful.

There are other objects that recur as themes in Gone Dragon with powerful meaning attached to them. Some come with a promise, such as Catanya’s bracelet. Others come with a responsibility, such as Magnus and Lucas’s swords. When objects of such importance repeat themselves as the story unfolds, they can conjure powerful associations just like metaphors. 

What is important to me about employing metaphors and symbolic associations is that they are neither contrived nor deliberate. They come naturally as part of the poetry of writing. 

Click here (or Right Click & select 'Download') to open a printable PDF version of this Journal entry.

I hope you are enjoying the journey!

Happy reading!

T.P. Sheehan