Linking Both Ways - Broken Glass

We are going to finish off the segment of these “linking quality” exercises by challenging you to go both ways; to use your linking quality to find an object that could be used both as a source domain to describe the prompt as well as a target domain to be described by the prompt.

Over the last few weeks we have been improving our flexibility in the discipline of semantic gymnastics, and this finishing flourish demonstrates that it is possible to turn any metaphor inside out.

For two days, you can choose from a list of given linking qualities, and then the final two days you can have free rein.

Prompt: Broken Glass
Possible Linking Qualities: Unable to be repaired / Glittering / Dangerous

This exercise took me longer than the usual ten-minute time constraint, it has two parts to it but also it can take a while to get your mind around this task. It is certainly challenging but demonstrates real linguistic mastery. Good luck!

Shattered dream is broken glass
Hope was always fragile, but now one final blow has left glorified visions violently shattered into a sparkling mosaic of what could have been. A thousand diamonds of potential litter his wake, but there is no longer hope of piecing them together. Trying to assemble the smashed dreams is dangerous as sharp daggers warn you from approaching such irretrievable fantasy.

Broken glass is a shattered dream
The shelled church lies wounded, a sea of broken glass glistens across the ground like a morning frost reflecting the innocent sunlight. The deafening blast was followed by the tinkling of a glockenspiel as the droplets rained down. Every drop of glass is a dream that was in an instant vandalised by such psychopathical greed. Each crystal on the floor is a teardrop mourning the beauty that was, splinters of desperate inhumanity.

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Rain is broken glass

Millions of tiny reflections from luminescent shards fall after the cacophony of thunder. Each with a portion of me imprisoned, struggling to break free from the stinging splinters of cold embedding into my skin before sliding slowly away. Shimmering shavings broken free from the mirror of clouds, sending seven years of rotten luck scattering across the surface of the street. A kaleidoscope of misfortune. I fall to my hands and knees and let the collected shavings of droplets pierce my palm until numbness takes over. The shards wash over me, dicing away the grime of the day. I arise renewed.

Broken glass is rain

Each set of headlights are a flash of lighting through the cracks in the windshield. Two minutes ago, everything was smooth, no storm in site. Time stood still as the sanguine taillights ahead grew brighter and BOOM - rolling thunder. Tiny slivers of rain exploding from where the once in tact cirrus cloud windshield used to float, millions of tiny crystals arranged in a wispy transparent array. Each drop of glass paints the world red through a valiant display of pointallism. This wasn’t a creeping, slow build storm; this was a torrential downpour all at once. Each tiny sprinkle sending small, evolutionary warnings to my brain… Run for cover. The precipitation puddles on the ceiling of the car, now taking the place of the floorboard, mixing with the stream of red droplets from my forehead. Then, just as quickly as the storm came, it dissipates, leaving nothing but its ghostly signature pools so that we know it was here for a time.

(note) I spend three minutes on the first one and five minutes on the second, trying my best to cut down on my length. I took a five minute break between to calibrate, but I think that wound up giving the back of my brain more time to fire, so my second one is not very concise.

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Your first one is really strong. Great imagery connecting the shattered dream to broken glass. The fragility of glass and the way you can never fit the pieces back together is a great metaphor. Then ending it with the fact that approaching it thoughtlessly will leave you cut up. Thought provoking and wonderful imaging.

The second one is well-written, but I thought the shattered dream images were a little light. You paint a great setting with image-focused words, and “tinkling” and “glistening” and “beauty” provide a little dream-like quality. You have the clear connections with the drops of glass being dreams, but the dream connection is a little missing. I say this recognizing that you chose a really hard source word here, and I think you wrote a wonderful piece. The emotional element is strong even though the “shattered dream” element is not super focused.

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Sentences are certainly shorter in the first one. I really like the clean tidy concision of it. Some excellent word choices in there, some shimmering shaving sibilance, and some nice how the misfortune aspect of broken glass is brought in to describe the cloudy day.

You have definitely flipped the metaphor over better than I did in the second one, it is very clear you are describing a car crash, and the language of the storm and rain paints it very nicely. Well done!

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failing relationship is broken glass
The eggshells we walked on around each other have evolved into broken glass. Stinging with each step, getting under the skin and irritating long after the walking has stopped. Thousands of tiny cuts accumulate on the heart, but still expected to beat as one and feel fully. Words pour out, cutting the liers mouth as they flow, and spraying onto the face of the lover like a damaging ocean mist.

broken glass is a failing relationship
Once solid before small cracks began to appear. Shaking walls adding more and more cracks, once from intense love making turned to shaking from screams of abuse. The scent of distain and poison words seep through the cracks acting as a beacon for onlookers to stay clear. The window only able to crack so much shatters into complete failure, divorcing from the frame and blanketing everything inside with the residue of unexpressed emotion.


I like them both! A sparkling mosaic of what could have been, and broken glass being a morning frost reflecting innocent sunlight! Super nice imagery. I agree this one was tough, but i think you did well they are both a nice read.

These are great! First one is abit more concise than the second one. But again this is a difficult challenge. I feel like lines like this could be omitted “This wasn’t a creeping, slow build storm; this was a torrential downpour all at once.” It could be assumed given the Boom and the tiny slivers of rain exploding onto us in the line before.


Wow! That first line! The evolution from cliché eggshells to painful shards is really powerful. The irritation of inflamed implanted splinters really builds on the growth. And instead of staring daggers, they are spewing sharp glass. This might be my favorite one of yours so far!

The second one is really well written also, but (maybe because of my head space from reading the first one) I feel like it is reading more like the first (using broken glass as a metaphor for a relationship). I really like the walls shaking creating more cracks. But at the end, it is more on point divorcing from the frame and releasing the pent up emotions is a great way to describe a window breaking.

Great job!

And thank you for the advice on mine. I thought I might be being a little redundant:)

Indeed these are super challenging trying to warp the metaphor both ways - feels like some real mental contortion. Just three more days to get through!

But you have actually achieved it very well. The failing relationship uses the stings and cuts from the glass (and then a slight tangent into the ocean mist domain haha), and the broken glass makes great use of the relationship words such as “divorcing from the frame” - very nice stuff!

Broken Glass - Self Esteem

Each painful word whispered in her ear caused another splintering crack. Her soul slowly weakened, until the damage spread completely through, severing her last bit of self esteem. The cobwebbed mirror no longer reflected her beauty, only a distorted, monstrous face. Her softness was replaced by an angry rough exterior, and her serrated heart drew blood when anyone got too close.

Self Esteem - Broken Glass

The glass shards littered the street, unaware of the nuisance it had become.
With every passerby, it would glisten and reflect the sun, eager to catch someone’s eye.
What the world saw as a hazard, it perceived to be diamonds, waiting to be mined and polished, or melted and rebuilt, or crafted into a dazzling mosaic. The unwanted broken glass continued to live out its days in distorted reality, until it was crushed down into nothing.

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These are fantastic! The line “her serrated heart drew blood when anyone got too close.” is absolutely fantastic. Both are just as strong as the other and very well written! These are very hard tasks but you’ve got 2 strong paragraphs here so it was very nice reading

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thanks! I was actually a little frustrated with myself because they aren’t very sensory. I was racking my brain on how to show vs tell. Anyway I’ll keep at it! Thank you for the encouragement, it means a lot. :slight_smile:

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It is definitely a challenge to get all the senses involved but what youve done is great.

I actually think you did really well at using sensory words to show. The painful words causing splintering cracks, the weakened soul, the internal damage spreading, the cobwebbed mirror, seeing herself as a monster, the softness/rough contrast… all are great sensory images. And I agree with Hugh, the serrated heart line is really good!

The second one also does well at providing some great sensory words. The glistening and reflecting is a great visual. The “eager to catch someone’s eye” is very telling to the self-esteem source word. The tension between beauty and hazard is super strong. I would keep that in mind for something later. And then the winding up where the obsession with shallow beauty left it crushed. I think you did very well!