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>Billie's legs are noodles. The ends of her hair are poison needles. Her tongue is a bristly sponge, and her eyes are bags of bleach.

This doesn't evoke any emotion when I read it. Is this because the writer is bad or is it because I didn't put enough effort into feeling it?


I think it's bad writing, those metaphors are too varied and too overwrought to be very meaningful.

On one hand they're not instantly relatable, we never think "my hair feels like poison needles". On the other there's no theme that really pulls them together. Like, I think the poison needle one could work for the sense it seems like that's supposed to convey (anxiety to the point of physical discomfort) if they had doubled down on it but now it's just a weird hairstyle. I'm no fiction writer, but:

>Billie felt needles in every brush of her hair, of her clothes, in the people's eyes. The poison rushed in until she could hardly stand, could hardly speak or breathe over a swollen tongue, could hardly even see, and every cell was screaming "Give up!"



That's how I was feeling too. Detailing a feeling in more, plainer words instead of linking typically distant words would force a more concrete image into my head. That's what it's about in the end, right? Making words feel like experiences.

It seems like the only way to make that happen is to write something and test it out on people until you learn the secret code of your readers.


>her eyes are bags of bleach
What the fuck does that even mean?


It means sushi roll ran out of analogies.


Here I sit attentively at my beautifully jet black Thinkpad T420 docked into a equally black monitor tying words and daydreaming about a world where I only have to work for 10 hours a week or less and medical bills are a distant memory. My mouth is desiring a tasty beverage and the memes on my computer are the dankest since 2013. I get up still in the middle of my fantasy of short work days and playing video games with family and friends to pick up a cold glass of pink lemonade which reflected my face, all torn up from debt and I let the tangy taste slid down my throat with my eyes closed. When I opened my eyes, I was standing in front of Karl Marx. His powerful beard dwarfing my own radiated a vibe I had never experienced before. I felt my troubles vanish, my glass had disappeared, my hair stood up in the face of his power. "Comrade, you must use your technology to cease the means of production, you must tell your managers they are now useless! Enrich your life and everyone else's!"

I found myself back into the kitchen, now calm. I walk back to my computer without another thought besides, "What the fuck was in that lemonade?".


Part of the reason it sounds bad is because every single sentence has the exact same structure: "X is Y". It's fine to use simple metaphors, but not four in a row.


Weighted eyelids falling akin to the resolve of a besieged citadel. Troops of attention wander battlements aimlessly observing. Reports trickle to and fro declaring the confirmation of consistent clearance contaminated by curious contendors at the pallisades. The people made weak and despondent from fatigue and vacant sustinence. Companions are since consumed. Comforts set ablaze for fleeting warmth of hazed light beneath the cage of stars. There is no relief force but the frosts of a distant winter, endurance the only weapon in the arsenal.

I am bored.


The original passage comes from this video at 00:45.


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I don't know about evoking emotion as i barely ever feel anything while reading, besides fun and hype for what is to come but i could imagine Billie's well; a girl with soft wobbly legs, stiff hair and spongy tongue and white eyes. Maybe i can even say she is afraid all the time, so her legs shake, doesn't take care for her body so her hair is in a poor state and her tongue dry and because of her poor state of mind she has a vague blank stare.
This excerp needs more background though, i won't say it is good or bad, just lacking when alone by itself.


This advice isn't awful, but you'll get much, much more out of actually reading and analyzing the methods of books and passages that you find powerful, although criticizing and rewriting weak writing as people have been doing in this thread is also valuable.


A good example of sentence variation. You actually used many different verbs instead of using the word "are" four times.


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>The point of prose fiction is to waste the reader's time
huh. had me fooled


That picture reminds me of of the instructions my professors used to tell their students. I think they were tired of students using advanced words when simpler ones would've been enough.


What kind of school did you go to? My English teachers always told the class to exchange simple words for "better" (i.e. more obscure, not more descriptive) ones, and also to put in lots of adverbs. They had posters of fancy words (ironically titled "Wow Words") in all the classrooms (They also didn't like me using parentheses very much).


University. Philosophy and history professors. The idea was that it would be easier for people to understand you if you used more more common words, and many students didn't seem to understand the words they used that well either.


Writing in a manner to make your work accessible isn't really what the thread is about though. It's to mess about and have fun with words isn't it?


Read "A Case for Small Words" by Richard Lederer, you might reconsider your stance.


Depends on why you write. There is a time and place for everything. It is better to be understood correctly with simple words when you're trying to argue for or against the use of road salt, if you're writing a journal, stories, or poems, playful writing is certainly welcome. You don't have to dive into the thesaurus for the longest most convoluted words to be playful tho, simple "homely" words is often just as good, or even better. Choosing longer and more foreign words might work against you.


That's what I just said.
Writing to be easily understood is very important in many places but this thread is not one of them. So to give writing advice of such a method is counter productive here.


Billie sounds fucked up


Yeah… Hey billie! Are you doing ok?


Badly written metaphors with no flow to them, this honestly sounds like something a grade schooler would write. Metaphors should generally be weaved into a sentece rather than just left to stand on their own, and like >>4751 pointed out, they're also practically identical.


"…her eyes are bags of bleach." What does this mean? I've never seen a bag of bleach I don't think, but it doesn't sound good.


I kinda get it. My interpretation is that Billie is a nasty woman. But the legs being noodles doesn't fit and the eyes being bags of bleach just doesn't make sense. Are they puffy but not brightly colored? Does it mean she smokes a lot of cigarettes?


>Descriptive writing
Reminds me of a passage from Terry Prattchet's Discworld #2 book The Light Fantastic:
"The point is that descriptive writing is very rarely entireliy accurate and during the reign of Olaf
Quimby II is Patrician of Ankh some legislation was passed in a determined attempt to put a stop
to this sort of thing and introduce some honesty into reporting. Thus, if a legend said of a
notable hero that 'all men spoke of his prowess' any bard who valued his life would add hastily
'except for a couple of people in his home village who thought he was a liar, and quite a lot of
other people who had never really heard of him.' Poetic simile was strictly limited to statements
like 'his mighty steed was as fleet as the wind n a fairly calm day, say about Force Three,' and
any loose talk about a beloved having a face that launched a thousand ships would have to be
backed by evidence that the object of desire did indeed look like a bottle of champagne. "


Don't be afraid to let your reader's imagination and/or autism spectrum disorder do the work for you! You can get way more flavor out of mere voice than you can imagery so why not let the reader have some fun with the details? There's only so many things that you can compare weak legs to but there's all kinds of different people who could try to describe the same thing:

>Billie's shit is fucked all the fuck to hell and she should probably see a doctor regarding said fuckedness at sometime within the near future.

>Billie is looking like a 200lb. bag of oof and she's walking like one, too.

>Literally everything about Billie is currently either gross, pathetic or all of the above. It's hysterical.

Treat your story like a conversation. How people respond to you affects how they respond to what you have to say. Your personality is just another tool of communication and it takes an engaging narrator to relay an engaging narrative.


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Time for scorched earth..


Large words usually have more specific connotations than smaller ones. They demand and create specific contexts to be used. "Big" and "large" almost always work, but "gargantuan" means something specific, and sometimes you don't want specific. In fact, unless you specifically want specificity, you probably don't need it.


One reason I left the Patent Office was that while there were a lot of good people there, it did attract its share of weirdos. I could go on for pages, but this one weirdo is the case-in-point.

Today, he would be called an incel or gamer or geek. He was a 30-something male, overweight and unkempt, who was lazy and didn't do his job and blamed everyone else for his woes. You know, your average computer geek male in 2022. He was fat, he was slovenly, and one habit in particular drove me nuts.

He would go down to the basement mall in Crystal City and buy these "big gulp" soda-pops in plastic cups. You get to keep the cup! And he did. He would gulp this soda and then have a burping contest. I am not kidding about this. He would belch, loudly, and actually open the door to his office and lean out into the hallway so it would echo throughout the floor. And I am not talking about a small burp, but these long, drawn-out, "Burrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap! kind of things.

Gross. But it got worse.

He kept the cups in his office - unwashed - and stacked them up in the corner. As a result, we had an infestation of cockroaches in the office, and that was gross, too. I mentioned this to my boss and since the guy was in another Art Unit, there was nothing to be done, as his supervisor (who was also slovenly and stupid) didn't see it as a problem but thought it was "funny" and that I needed to "lighten up."

Of course, the guy was mortgaging cases - he was a lazy slob, so he would pretend to examine cases to meet his quota and avoid being fired (he was always 1% above the level of production needed to keep his job). And eventually it was discovered that, gee-whiz, whaddya know? He's a scumbag!

Interesting thing that. I read all the time online about people being harassed and bullied at work, and supervisors and managers who defend the bullies and harassers. Later on, they find out the miscreants were stealing from the company. Maybe when someone complains about boorish behavior in the workplace, you should pay attention. The guy harassing the secretary isn't just a "jerk" or being "inappropriate" - he probably isn't doing his job, either. When you have enough time in the day to stir the pot, chances are, you don't have enough to do. Just fire people like that - if they feel so entitled they can get away with whatever they want - and you let them - they will probably be your downfall.

Just a thought.

Anyway, I can't say this guy is the one reason I left the Patent Office, but one of many. I wanted to buy a house and my salary at the USPTO wasn't going to cut it. I wanted to get ahead in life, and slogging my way up the GS salary scale over 30 years didn't seem so appealing. I wanted more out of life than a tiny office with linoleum floors and steel furniture made by convicted Watergate buglers in minimum-security prisons.

I wanted to work with professionals who didn't think burping contests were the height of hilarity.

So I moved on. Years later, I was interviewing for a job with a firm, sort of as a lark, and they mentioned that Mr. Burpee was working for them. I laughed out loud. They quickly qualified that they kept him in a separate room in another floor, because basically he smelled bad. They used him to write responses to Office Actions (for foreign clients, who basically tell you what to say) and since he was fired from the Patent Office, he could never be a Registered Patent Attorney Patent Agent, or even Lawyer.

Well, actually he could. He tried to become a registered Patent Agent and on the application form was a question, "Have you ever been fired from a government agency?" and he put down "No" as if the Patent Office wouldn't notice. It was an interesting case, as they basically banned him for life from becoming a registered agent not because he was fired for malfeasance, but because he lied about it on a government form.

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