Put down That Metaphor, Ma’am!

Jun 02

Monstrous Metaphor, In Need of Murder!“Now step slowly away…

“That’s right, keep your hands where I can see ‘em! … Dispatch, I’m going to need some backup here. This could get ugly… Ma’am, I said KEEP YOUR HANDS WHERE I CAN… What are you doing? No, for gawd’s sake, DON’T FEED IT… Aye!! Officer Down, OFFICER DOWN!!

(unintelligible screaming)…

Don’t let this happen to you!
Keep your metaphors spayed, neutered, and curbed.
It’s not just good business, it’s the law!

It's Another Flourish!

That little story up there?

The one that’s supposed to be a clever opening to get your attention?

It’s dreadful, isn’t it?

Yes, I know some of you want to throw sweet mother hen “Cluck, cluck, it’s not so bad, dearie…” reassurances at me now, but trust me,  it’s bad.

How do I know it’s bad?

Because I spent all of yesterday trying to write the post it was supposed to introduce, and the rest of the words just would not happen.

I knew in my heart that opening story wasn’t working.  I knew there was no real point to it. I knew it weakened what should have been a strong, helpful bit of writing.  I knew it wasn’t funny, didn’t really shed any light on the issue, and set the wrong tone.

It’s what happens when a metaphor goes bad.  It’s what happens when content tries too hard to be cute and clever. It’s what happens when a writer refuses to take the old writer’s advice to “murder your darlings”, and clings to a too-clever bit of prose against all common sense.

I meant that story to introduce a serious discussion of the good and bad of business metaphors. Unintentionally, I wound up illustrating the bad part of the equation.

So today?

I’m correcting my mistake.  I’m trashing that horrid bit of opening prose, starting the intended post over from scratch, and making you wait another few days for it.

Meanwhile, I’m putting my crimes here, for you all to see.

Consider it a confession; let my example serve as a lesson.

Murder your darlings, Darlings.

It's Another Flourish!


  1. Marie /

    No clucking! It is easy for the pretty prose to run away with us. A clever reminder to rein those words in. Yee haw!

    • Tori Deaux /

      I love it. Only a Texan songwriter could get away with clucking, reining, and yeehaw in one comment! 😉

  2. I actually liked the intro. Then again, I like late night low budget scary movies too 🙂

    I did read “murder your darlings” but I’m still left with the question where is the line? I have a quirky, and at times downright odd, sense of humor. To me plenty of things are entertaining that may fall into the dreadful category in the eyes of everyone else.

    I would hope my readers would call me out. Is there a metaphor gone bad test?

    • Tori Deaux /

      Hi Nicole! The problem with the intro is less the intro itself, than that it weakened the post that was supposed to follow it… that post IS still coming, in the next couple of days, and I hope it’ll help clarify how to find that line. So hang in there… and don’t go murdalating your pet metaphors just yet!


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