METAPHORIC LANGUAGE GUIDELINES FOR SONGWRITING
Updated: Jun 5
From a Sheila Davis workshop in 1988.
A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
IF YOU START A METAPHOR, FINISH IT.
Not: Life is a sea of troubles, and I'm weary of it.
But: Life is a sea of troubles without a shore in sight.
AVOID MIXED METAPHORS.
Not: On the road to love, I keep missing the boat.
But: On the road to love, we've reached a dead-end.
MAKE YOUR METAPHOR INTERNALLY CONSISTENT.
Not: You're not the only one without an umbrella, I'm out here in a leaky boat.
But: You're not the only one without an umbrella, I'm caught in the downpour too.
R METAPHOR IN REALITY.
Not: It ain't only rainin' on you Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning too So take my hand, let's swim together Maybe love can change the weather.
But: You and I can weather the bad times There's no storm we can't come through.
INTRODUCE A FIGURATIVE IMAGE IN A FIGURATIVE WAY
Crashed the reefs off rocky Maine, Won't put foot on land again: Overboard, lost at sea Girl, you made a wreck of me.
But: You smile and I lose my moorings We touch and I'm lost at sea I'm a man overboard
Look what you've done to me
KEEP A SERIES EITHER ALL LiTERAL OR ALL FIGURATIVE Not: She paints her lips bright red And puts her money where her mouth is.
But: She paints her lips bright red and her toenails pink
Or: She's full of big talk But she puts her money where her mouth is.