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I actually made a questionnaire a while ago that has some questions that might help you work out your character’s voice.

If the link doesn’t work, it’s in the ‘Characters’ forum and it’s still on the first page.

Character voice questionnaire

Personally, I really like similies.

I think the key to writing a good one is you need to be specific, and you need to use it for characterization. (And don’t be cliche.)

If you’re specific enough, it won’t be cliche, and it’ll give you much more interesting imagery. However, if you overdo it, it’s ridiculous, which is fantastic if you want to play it up for comedy. Douglas Adams is a master when it comes to overly specific similies.

One of my favorite examples: “He leaned tensely against a wall and frowned like a man trying to unbend a corkscrew by telekinesis.” It’s so weirdly specific but you also get exactly what he’s trying to convey.

As for characterization, you need to think about your character’s interests, and how they’d compare things. They won’t use similies for things they don’t know about.

This is a pitfall I often see in fantasy. The author will use comparisons that the characters don’t even know about.

Anyway, use them sparingly. Both metaphors and similies work better during slower-paced scenes since you want to get your point across as quickly and clearly as possible during an action scene.

If an enemy is storming your pov character, they probably won’t rhapsodize about how the guy’s tunic is the color of freshly fallen snow on the southern mountains. They’ll say it’s white and try not to die.

Also, something to remember about both metaphors and similes is that their power lies in imagery. If done well, they can reinforce the character’s voice by giving you consistent images that match their background and attitude.

For example, a gentler character might describe a red sunrise as scarlet dye seeping into the fabric of the heavens, while a more jaded character might describe it as scarlet blood seeping out of long gashes in the clouds, staining the once blue sky. (Those were incredibly bad examples, but I’m making them up on the fly, cut me some slack XD)

The one gives you a way calmer image and the other gives you a feeling of dread, even though it’s the same thing.

Anyway, hoped this helped!

Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

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