Here, for your amusement, are some examples from an article in Writing Magazine, December 2009. Howlers and blunders that should never have made it into print. Presumably to spare their blushes, the quotes are not attributed by author or book.
‘The old man opened his eyes metaphorically.’
‘Don’s eyelids fell shut with a silent thud.’
‘Penny was a rain cloud. Lightning flashed over her office desk as she rained all over her paperwork. As Ross drew closer, he could make out her features, hidden within the swirling cumulonumbus. Obviously, he had come on a bad day.’
‘Embarrassment is something I can feel in my flesh, like a handful of sun-warmed mud clapped on my head… The embarrassment had turned runny. It was horrifying my scalp along a spreading frontier.’
‘My face drew back from my skull as if I were vomiting and tears ran from my eyes like blood from gashes. I was sad -‘
‘Tom looked up and saw the deep blackness that was space. “It’s like looking into a mirror, Roger,” he breathed in awe. “Only there isn’t any other side – no reflection.”‘
‘I was wondering if we could find some cloud of dust to anchor to …’
But of all the awful description, here is my favourite. All you writers out there, take note:
‘The things were odd, weird, grotesque. There was something horribly uncustomary and unwonted about them. They were completely unfamiliar. Their appearance was outlandish and extraordinary. There was something quite phenomenal about them. They were supernormal; they were unparalleled; they were unexampled. The shape of the aliens was singular in every sense. They were curious, odd, queer, peculiar and fantastic, and yet when every adjective had been used on them, when every preternatural epithet had been applied to their aberrant and freakish appearance, when everything that could be said about such eccentric, exceptional, anomalous creatures had been said, they still remained indescribable in any concrete terms.’
Yes, but what did they look like?