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I wrote before my book, "Gone."

A) Is it okay to use similes? One author's opinion (from some website that supposedly quoted authors on how to write a good novel) is that similes should not be used.

B) Can I include celebrity names, public places (McDonald's, etc.,), TV shows, etc., in my book, or do I need permission to write those in?

Hello John:

I cannot imagine any writer saying similes should not be used. They are used, all the time. A good simile is invaluable in writing, used to conjur up images that help the reader more fully experience or understand an image the writer has used. The only caveat is: make sure they are fresh and new. Don't settle for the first one that comes to mind; it is sure to be a cliche.

As to what celebrity/place etc. names you can use, that is a legal question; your publisher will be able to help you with that. I have seen it done, but only sparingly. I don't personally care for it as I believe it breaks the spell the writer is trying to create.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high scores over 1900+ questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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