A simile can give your reader a nice jolt. He's reading along and suddenly you make a comparison that surprises him. That's electrifying. If you say a man's smile was like a slit in the sidewalk, you used a simile and you gave your readers an image they can see.
When you use similes, you can make your own words
Fall softly as rose petals.
Gush out like toothpaste.
String and creep like insects!
Get the idea?
What about my client and the book on networking? How would she use similes to improve her writing?
There isn't a heading called Networking in the simile book I have, but there is one called Friendship. One simile we might use is "Life without a friend is like life without sun." Maybe my client would say, "Networking is as important to your life as sunshine."
Another simile in the book is "Without a friend the world is a wilderness." My client might say something like, "Without learning how to network, the world is a wilderness."
Using similes isn't always easy for me. Browsing through the collection and wondering how I can use these similes feels like swimming upstream in Jell-O. It's not at all like making instant coffee. (Notice the two similes?)
The effort is worth it, however. Every one of the paragraphs in this section was written with the help of my simile book. I feel my writing is better with similes. And probably clearer. Even though writing with similes sometimes feels like playing the piano with boxing gloves, I have to admit a good simile is like a loving kiss on a dark rainy day. It's nice.
Warning: Don't overuse similes. They are handy for putting some brightness in your writing, but if you overdo it, your readers will OD (overdose) and pass out. They will mentally fog over and no further thoughts will get through.
Spice up your articles and letters with a good simile and your writing will sell like cold lemonade at a marathon. Overdo it and your writing will read like an advertisement for jelly. Got it?
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