Suggest improvements for the highlighted areas:
Any visitor to the Ganges is likely to see a wide variety of birds. Parakeets flash by. A vulture circles above, patiently waiting for its next meal. The fork-tailed tern screams like a banshee before diving like a bomber to catch its prey. A hoopoe, with its slender, downward-curving bill, putters around looking for grubs. And long-legged storks wade through shallow waters, playing the decision close to the vest right down to the wire before snapping up fish.
- Style: Avoid Bad Figures of Speech -
Suggestion: Avoid mixing metaphors.
A ghastly example is provided in our opening paragraph:
And long-legged storks wade through shallow waters, playing the decision close to the vest right down to the wire before snapping up fish.
Again, it is better to avoid comparisons than it is to mix them up and lose the reader:
And long-legged storks wade through shallow waters, watchful for fish.
When we use similes and metaphors, we invite readers to look at two things in a new way. Difficult concepts can be made more understandable when the reader is given a comparison to something more familiar. Emotional intensity can be increased when these comparisons spark a surprising association.
An apt simile adds a delightful touch to our writing, like a cool scoop of ice cream on a warm piece of pie. And a refreshing metaphor is the icing on the cake of our otherwise ordinary prose.