Mixed Metaphors – Don’t Let Them Sneak into Stories

by | Writing

image by PeaceableGirl

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days is now available. See details below.

What a Mixed Metaphor Is

A mixed metaphor is one that combines different images or ideas in a way that is confusing or absurd. The images don’t work well with each other.

Yes, I wrote the following mixed metaphor (sigh), and my editor dinged it. (In the scene, the heroine’s in the kitchen and the hero’s in the den.)

Original: Just because the battery in her brain’s smoke detector was dead, didn’t mean there weren’t smokin’ hot vibes in the lion’s den.

Edited: Just because the battery in her brain’s smoke detector was dead, didn’t mean there weren’t smokin’ hot vibes in the den.

Other Examples:

  • Two thugs working together is a handshake whose fingers should release their grip because they’re horses of a different color.
  • She was a sloth when it came to beating the bushes for a job.

Mixed metaphors often combine clichés in ludicrous ways. 

  • The armchair quarterback was at loggerheads with the all-talk-no-action play.
  • The vanilla statement was less than icing on the cake.
  • He was bad to the bone, and I had a bone to pick with his bare-bone budget.

Often, mixed metaphors murder clichés.

image by jackmac34

  • His CEO attitude took charge and steam pressed over his colleagues.
  • Her diva comment was a hot knife with butter.

It’s best to use only one metaphor in a sentence or even in a paragraph.

What mixed metaphor have you read or heard that irked you or made you laugh?

Buy Link

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is TYFMI30D-Print-5.75x8.89.jpeg

Zoe McCarthy’s book, Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days, is a fresh and innovative refocusing of your novel or novella. Through a few simple—and fun—steps, Zoe helps writers take their not-ready-for-publication and/or rejected manuscripts to a spit-polish finish. Writing is hard work, yes, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. —Eva Marie Everson, best-selling and multiple award-winning author, conference director, president of Word Weavers International, Inc.

If you want to increase your chance of hearing yes instead of sorry or not a fit for our list at this time, this book is for you. If you want to develop stronger story plots with characters that are hard to put down, this book is for you. Through McCarthy’s checklists and helpful exercises and corresponding examples, you will learn how to raise the tension, hone your voice, and polish your manuscript. I need this book for my clients and the many conferees I meet at writer’s conferences around the country. Thank you, Zoe. A huge, #thumbsup, for Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days.  —Diana L. Flegal, literary agent, and freelance editor

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript is a self-editing encyclopedia! Each chapter sets up the targeted technique, examples show what to look for in your manuscript, then proven actions are provided to take your writing to the next level. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a newbie, you need this book! —Sally Shupe, freelance editor, aspiring author

Newsletter Signup

Please subscribe to my newsletter, Zoe’s Zigzags, and receive a free short story.”

Author Zoe M. McCarthy Newsletter Signup

Follow Blog Via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,836 other subscribers
-819Days -11Hours -36Mins -8Secs

American Christian Fiction Writers

American Christian Fiction Writers

You may also like


Pin It on Pinterest