Comparisons are odious…. or are they?

We’re all familiar with those websites where we can compare the prices of similar products. But this post isn’t about comparing like with like; for the purposes of making our creative writing even more interesting and imaginative, we should be comparing apples and oranges, if you see what I mean.

We’re not talking cliché here, folks. What we are trying to achieve is a fresh, inventive way of expressing a person’s characteristics, hopefully with a new spin, by using a comparison that hasn’t been used before. Arresting imagery brings another dimension to our writing and if we can help our readers to build vivid pictures of our characters in their minds we are onto a winner.

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Think of a colour… any colour

If you’ve temporarily hit the buffers and need some inspiration – look to the spectrum. Cool blues, elegant greens and vibrant yellows – the range of colours is infinite and the themes, emotions and moods associated with them are limited only by your imagination.

For this exercise I’ve chosen red. It’s a vibrant colour that has many nuances and connotations. When it’s diluted with white it becomes the pretty, girly pink of Dolly Mixtures or the heavy chalkiness of indigestion remedies; mixed with blue it takes on the mysterious, regal or funereal properties of purple; with yellow it becomes altogether more vivacious, adding a touch of citrus to a description.

Red occurs naturally in nature – the colour of blood and of many fruits. But it also suggests heat, embarrassment, anger or danger; it can be evocative of suffering, of carnage and of speed; it even represents a political ideal. These various aspects can be explored very successfully in our writing.

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The Devil’s in the Detail

Over the past few weekends I’ve been mildly entertained by a neighbour’s attempts to cut down a tree in his garden. The tree was probably deserving of the treatment; it was a straggly old conifer that had overstayed its welcome but the whole felling procedure – and believe me, the production was worthy of Cecil B de Mille – got me thinking about familiar landmarks and how I can use them in my writing to add some individuality as well as colour, texture and even humour. They don’t need to be large or dramatic, in fact, for our purposes, small is definitely beautiful. It’s all in the detail. Here’s a selection of sights that are familiar to me and probably surround us all in some shape or other:

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A Bit of Light Relief

There’s humour all around us, if we pay attention, and comedic value in many everyday situations. It’s just a case of looking for it.

A few years ago my doctor advised a surgical investigation. Nothing drastic, but it fell into the ‘one of those things I’d rather not do, thanks very much’ category. I was persuaded that it would be a good idea and I agreed.

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