“Tell the truth but tell it slant.” Emily Dickinson
Metaphors also incorporate juxtaposition to catch our wonder. The movie Avatar brims with such metaphors creating not only a visual panorama, but also a breathtaking palette of concepts.
The floating mountains startle us. Our perspective struggles to grasp solid rock weighted familiar assumptions with transparent air. We need mountains to stand firmly on the ground, don’t we? So we can admire their grandeur, scale their heights and conquer the elements. All are still possible in Avatar’s world, except that if anyone falls, they fall into air. Both the beauty and the danger are heightened to an unimaginable level.
Sometimes we become so familiar with the language and the images we use in our writing that we sap their strength. We know to avoid clichés, but often we settle for ordinary when with a metaphoric dab we might shatter open new possibilities.
What about some rock hard assumption we make for our characters, or ourselves, whether positive and negative? What could happen if we released them into air? What consequences could follow?
Make a list of natural elements that we expect to be free-floating. Now ground them as with the weight of a mountain. What new concepts do they provide?
Repeat using personality traits in yourself or someone you know well. Then apply the change to one of your characters.