Take Ten

This creative writing exercise is from Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer



Take Ten for Writers • No. 70 Creative Writing Exercise

Simile But Different

Similes are comparisons that jazz up your writing.

By Bonnie Neubauer | Updated September 9, 2018


Pick an item from each column in the grid below to create a simile. The odder the simile, the more fun it is to invent a story around it. If you want, generate a few similes and use them all. (Examples: Crooked like a yo-yo in a debate; Wild like a rocking chair in sneakers.)

Rotten like a lead balloon in pajamas
Pink like mashed potatoes in headlights
Ripe like a yo-yo at a wedding
Handsome like a feminist in handcuffs
Crisp like a pig in a dentist’s chair
Tempting like bricks in flames
Romantic like a congressman in a cookie jar
Crooked like a cheerleader in summer
Cold like a jalopy in a debate
Sharp like a hillbilly in a video game
Fresh like a pinch hitter in sepia tones
Snobby like a bowler up a creek
Wild like Richard Nixon in a pocket
Hairy like a dream in left field
Backward like dynamite in the dog house
Stubborn like a banana split at a Bar Mitzvah
Inflated like a cockroach at a protest march
Loose like a geek in a junkyard
Annoying like eggs in battle
Crazy like bagels in a time warp
Helpful like a puppet in cyberspace
Psychic like a rocking chair in a think tank
Witty like a diamond in sneakers
Bored like a cloud in the refrigerator
Clever like lipstick in a tornado

Write your simile at the top of your page.

Pick a number between 1 and 10: ______.

Find your number below. This is the starting phrase for your story, in which you must use your simile.


Simile But Different List

Find your number here. This is the starting phrase for your story, in which you must use your simile.


  1. I took a sip of …

  2. I boarded the …

  3. Looking out at the …

  4. It was a big stretch …

  5. From the time I was …

  6. The weather forecast wasn’t …

  7. Momentarily blinded by the flash …

  8. I followed my nose …

  9. The second the download began …

  10. I entered the circle of magicians …

Now TAKE TEN minutes and WRITE!

TAKE TEN Take-Away

Similes are comparisons that jazz up your writing. Creative people also tend to be quite adept at another type comparison: comparing themselves to others, usually those who are more prolific or successful. This is destructive and a waste of time.

Instead, take the time to honor who you are. If you want to be more prolific, set aside more writing time. If you want to be more successful, learn how make your work more professional to send out into the world. Change because you want it for yourself, not because you are comparing yourself to, or competing with, someone else.

Next: VocabuLeery Writing Exercise

©2009 Bonnie Neubauer. All rights reserved.