Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Similes & 6 Ways to Improve Them

This month I'm participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. The theme I'm going with this year is writing humor. Follow along to learn more about the different ways to make your fiction, articles or blog posts humorous. 

Oh! I love similes. They are super fun to write and great for adding more humor to your writing.  So, what is a simile? In short, it's describing two unlike things using the words like or as.

Her crying was as loud as a siren held up to a megaphone and played over a loud speaker.

Here's 6 tips for improving your similes:

#1: Don't use cliches

He was as hungry as a wolf. 

Ok. That's just lame. 

Don't reach for the first simile that comes to mind. Dig deeper!  Be original!

He was as hungry as a wolf on a no-pork diet who stumbled across a bacon festival.

Wow. Bacon band-aids. 

#2: Use all your senses

Think about what things feel, taste, sound, look  and smell like. Now put those to use in your similes. 

Say you want to write a simile about your villain. Maybe about how bad he smells?

He raised his armpits and a smell like a boys' locker room, a dumpster and the moldy vegetables in the back of my Aunt Berna's fridge rolled over me. 

#3: Keep it simple 

Don't try too hard. Your simile should flow easily. If you're trying too hard, it will look like it. 

#4: Make sure it's entertaining

The whole point of a simile is for it to add something to the story, to be enjoyable. If it doesn't make the story better, if it's not entertaining for your readers, then don't use it.

#5: Paint a picture

Use vivid, specific and descriptive words. A great simile will paint a picture in your reader's mind. 

#6: Keep them short

Make your similes concise and punchy. They should flow through your narrative seamlessly, not stick out like a sore thumb like a bitter off-key Steampunk Elvis trying to croon his way onto American Idol. 


If you'd like a chuckle, check out these 56 Best/Worst Similes.

Some of my favorites are...

He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

He was as tall as a 6′3″ tree.

It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

Do you like to use similes in your writing? 


  1. I do try to use similes, but, as you say, you do have to be careful not to overdo them. How's this: she was as nervous as a whore in church

  2. This is a great post.
    Loving the bacon bandage.

  3. These are some god tips. I don't use similes much.

  4. Your simile with the wolf and the no-pork diet sumbling on a bacon festival nearly got me in trouble, as I was reading it on my phone shortly before my shift at work started. :-)

    I do use similes, but not typically in a humorous fashion.

    Lyre @ Lyre's Musings #atozchallenge

  5. Thanks for the tips, and the quotes. They were hilarious.

    Thanks for stopping by my AtoZ.