I recently did a post on my blog about observations on writing related to all my time on the road. As soon as I posted it, a couple more writing parallels struck me during my daily commute.
It's all about getting on the freeway.
First, we have the on-ramp. When I was in driver's ed, they taught me that the reason we have on-ramps instead of making right turns onto the freeway is so we have a chance to get up to speed. Some drivers must have missed that day in class. You don't want to be going 20 mph slower (or faster) than everyone else when you get there.
Same thing in our stories. Are we pushing the action forward at the right rate? Increasing the tension and intrigue steadily? Or are we dragging things out? Rushing them too much? We need to hit the right pace at the right time.
The same art applies to merging threads in our narratives, particularly if there are two parallel storylines that eventually converge. We can't just jam them together—we have to see the merge as we're approaching. Chapters in advance, we have to see how they're going to mesh and nudge them toward each other.
I know these are silly "life is like writing" metaphors, but I find when they occur to me, they make me think of a new angle to check in my manuscripts. Maybe it's my teaching background—when trying to help a student grasp a new concept, I relate it to something much more familiar to them.
Do you have any metaphors you like to use in analyzing your writing (silly or otherwise)? How do they help you get your story on-track?