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The Literally Game (a Metaphor Exercise)

Metaphor Lesson Series

Metaphor Exercise 2: The Literally Game

Not ready yet? Go back to basics.
Want to step back to the previous entry in the series? Go to figurative vs literal language.

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9 Metaphor Exercises to Empower Your Writing

Metaphors Be With You

As you probably know, I’m in the process of creating a series of lessons and exercises that help you improve your ability to work with metaphors. Here are the nine exercises, which I’ll be discussing in greater detail later on.

1: Metaphor Madlibs

What it’s for: Helping people recognize and understand metaphors.

How it works: These three “madlibs” have players supply the objects and verbs. The random selections are then put into famous metaphor-based sayings, a metaphor-rich story, and other metaphor frameworks. Players are able to dissect what makes a metaphor in a simple and enjoyable way.

The full entry can be found here.

2: A Little S&M

What it’s for: Helping people differentiate metaphors from other types of language (including simile, hyberbole, literal descriptions, and euphemisms).

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A Poem for a Stranger

“Why?” her eyes were placid sapphires, dim in their glimmering reflection of the night sky.

I leaned in and whispered, “Because you are the sort of girl they write poetry for.”

Girl in Silhouette - on the beach

Image courtesy of Flickr by Chris. P

I was right. This was the sort of girl whose smile shone bright, showing you something you’d been missing without even realizing it. The best part was, she didn’t even know she was that girl. It was heartbreaking, in a way, knowing that the substance of this connection—this finally tangible reaching—would vanish just as quickly as it was found. But that which we can’t capture in life, we capture in words.

Here’s an exercise to add a bit of romance in your life, along with an example from my world-wandering travels.

A Poem for a Stranger

What this exercise does: Participants write a poem about an experience, person, place, or object they have lost.

What this exercise is for: This exercise helps poets recognize how experience can be integrated with poetic expression, giving a hands-on experience of using concrete details to empower poetry and showing how poems can capture a sense of loss, transience, or nostalgia.

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Metaphor Exercise 1: Metaphor Madlibs

Exercise 1: Metaphor Madlibs

Go back to Metaphor Lesson #1: Metaphor Basics

After reviewing the basics of metaphors, it’s useful to practice the art of metaphor-making. Luckily, madlibs can help us. Enjoy the following metaphor-based madlibs as you ingrain the definition of metaphor into your mind.

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