Write Something Bad

I recently stumbled across a hilarious list of “lame analogies” submitted for a Washington Post contest.

A few samples:

The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while. (Malcolm Fleschner, Arlington)

The door had been forced, as forced as the dialogue during the interview portion of “Jeopardy!” (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

“Oh, Jason, take me!” she panted, her breasts heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night. (Bonnie Speary Devore, Gaithersburg)

She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs. (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

Even in his last years, grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut. (Sandra Hull, Arlington)

fish display

When I finished laughing, I realized I love these analogies. They have a fresh quality, in spite of their lack of literary merit.

So I came up with another creative exercise: take 15 minutes to write some of these terrible similes and metaphors. Yes, they’re silly. But writing “bad” can be freeing, and it tends to encourage your inner critic to take a break. With no pressure to create a masterpiece, you can simply play with words. And the exercise just might get your creative juices flowing.

You can read the entire Washington Post list here.

Copyright @ Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World, http://www.stranglingmymuse.com

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12 Responses to “Write Something Bad”


  1. 1 horrorible August 3, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Fantastic! Here’s one off the fly….

    The scorching rash Darryl endured sizzled like worms frying in a lard laden iron skillet.

    I’m originally from red neck country–I think I might have actually seen this.

  2. 2 Keith August 3, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    I will never forget the reaction I got in 7th grade English when we were writing essays about “Great Expectations.” I wrote that Pip treated his parents like a case of hemorrhoids- he wanted to keep them a secret and get rid of them as quickly as possible. Mr. Blauvelt read the line aloud to the class without naming me as the author and I was actually somewhat disappointed that everyone thought it was so hilarious. I thought I was just being very precise.

  3. 3 K a b l o o e y August 3, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    “I’m as used up as a box of tissues at the house of a group of premenstrual women watching a marathon of those really sad disease-of-the-week movies on a station that specializes in those kind of movies.”

    Larraby smiled ruefully as he walked from the courtroom, thinking “that summation stunk up the joint like a hunk of gruyere that had fallen behind a radiator in Autumn, but it was now mid-January and the heat had been on for a long, long time.”

    Darcie’s gravity-defying orbs stood at attention like a private hoping for a weekend pass.

  4. 4 stranglingmymuse August 3, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Thanks for these great lame analogies!

    horrorible, that is really bad! And by bad, I mean good, because I could feel those sizzling worms.

    Keith, that’s a great story. Your early creative genius was clearly unappreciated. Then again, it’s hard to imagine 7th graders not giggling at the mention of hemorrhoids.

    Kablooey, wonderful bad writing — I laughed out loud. Thanks, as always for your inspired contributions.

    I’d love to see some more of these, if anyone’s game!

    –Sandy

  5. 5 Courtney Vail August 6, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Haha. Very funny. I’m getting my manuscript ready for submission, since an agent requested it, but when I get a breather, this would be fun to try. Thanks for the idea.


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