Defamiliarization and Using Random Metaphors in Writing

So my new daily habit is to plug into  my new favorite podcast, “Inside Creative Writing.” It fills the hour drive home from work and it’s like attending a really great writing seminar. I’m doing my best to catch up on past episodes. Teacher and writer Brad Reed has a wonderful presentation style and is a joy to listen to. His website is: I highly recommend giving it a listen if you are interested in improving your craft.

Last night, I was deep into Episode 3. Mr. Reed discussed how to spark your creativity and described the process of “Defamiliarization.” I had never done this before but the exercise he walked us through was something that I think a lot of writers (myself included) could benefit from. Here are the basics to that process:

“The process of generating a random metaphor is based on the technique of defamiliarization and involves the following steps:
1. Choose a character (or other element) that is particularly “flat” or uninteresting
2. Choose a random object (possibly using a random noun generator like this one)
3. List the qualities of the random object.
4. Compare the character to the list of qualities of the random object. How might your character have these qualities?
5. DO NOT USE the random metaphor in your actual writing. It is only meant to be a way to see your character from a new angle and suggest new possibilities.”

– See more at:

See how it works for you in looking at your character(s) in a new way. I can’t wait to try it myself. So, until next time, keep writing every day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s