Composing and Metaphoricity

  • Barbara Tomlinson


Figurative descriptions or “metaphorical stories” of composing are ubiquitous in interviews with professional writers. Writers explain themselves as building, battling, or giving birth; their texts as flowing, growing, or coming alive; their minds as razors, reservoirs, or compost heaps. They position their writing as cooking, painting, rock-climbing. They present themselves as vehicles, listeners, actors, manipulators, manufacturers, masters. Their characters and their texts become active, even recalcitrant, co-authors. Figurative themes and metaphorical stories about composing acts bring writing down to earth, not only reflecting, but also constituting extant concepts of composing as authors’ interviews repeatedly reference actual life activities.


Writing Process Literary Text Social Labor Writing Practice Cultural Emphasis 
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Copyright information

© Barbara Tomlinson 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Tomlinson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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