I am a big fan of similes. Like, the biggest. If they ever became rock stars, I would be one of the crazy girls waiting backstage to see a glimpse of them, holding up my big glittery/neon/heart-covered poster that read “I love you Similes!” and crying profusely when “As” or “Like” touched my hand. So yeah, I have a thing for similes.
I don’t think I need to school you on what similes are, but if I did, I would say they are used to compare two different things using the words “like” or “as”. I will even provide you examples created by…you guessed it, ME.
It fell from the sky like the last firework on the fourth of July.
The corn rustled and hissed as they pushed through it, like they had awakened a thousand rattlesnakes all at once.
He threw down the stone as if he had been holding a hot coal and ran as fast as his wobbling legs could carry him.
SEE!!! I love them.
Anyways, the point I want to make on these is that I love when an author uses a simile where the thing they are relating something to is an object specifically in the world they are creating. I know I have read them all over but, of course, I am having a hard time finding the specific examples.
I can definitely say that George R.R. Martin uses them effortlessly in his Game of Thrones series and I squeal with delight when I stumble upon one. I love when the simile works successfully AND is also using a characteristic that is unique to the world you are reading about.
One example in Game of Thrones is the phrase many people say “Rich as a Lannister!” This wouldn’t work in any other context but in this story because it is known to the reader that the Lannister family is the most wealthiest family in the land. There is also a 600 ft ice Wall in the story that protects the Kingdom from the “white walkers”. During another scene, I believe he describes someone’s height to be as “tall as the Wall” ….again, we couldn’t drop this simile into just any story because it wouldn’t make sense. But since the reader knows how great the Wall is, it really gets across that this man is a skyscraper of a dude.
There is just some kind of double-whammy you get when it is a great simile and it is exclusive to your world. You engage the reader and you are able to give a unique description, while also enforcing another aspect of your world into the reader’s mind. Whenever you can make a sentence do double the work, do it!
Now, I have been told a few times to lay off the similes. Sometimes I can’t help it, they are so cute and charming!! However, using this idea methodically really brings out the comparison in a brighter light and enhances the world you are building for your reader to live in even more.