|Motif: The echo of an interesting character|
Metaphor: A metaphor uses an image, a story or an object to represent a less tangible object, quality or idea. For example, "Her eyes were glistening jewels." When revising your work, ask yourself whether your metaphors are original, well-placed and appropriate for your story's theme. The example here, albeit clichéd, would work well for a gemstone dealer describing a woman he loves, particularly in historical fiction and romance. A story about an artist would be better served by this: "Her eyes in the fading light were Prussian blue."
Motif: A motif is a recurring subject, theme, idea, object or concept that represents a deeper concept. Motifs, like metaphors, should be original, well-placed and appropriate for the story's theme. If, for example, your story is about a musician, you'll not only look for instances in the text that echo the subject of music, but also for objects or concepts that will evoke that theme throughout your work. For example, the curve of a woman's body can echo the treble clef of pitch, and vice versa.
The key to using metaphor and motif well is to know your story — and characters — well. This usually is more the case in draft two. Also, with both metaphor and motif, less (as in understatement), especially in literary fiction, is more.
For the full editor's checklist, see this month's Online Editing Workshop,
Tip: For best revision results, finish your story, then set it aside and work on something else. Distance improves perspective, and you'll more easily spot places in the work where you can exchange one metaphor or motif for a better one.