CTS Entry: Slimy


Natural:
Rotting leaves
Oils
Fat
Snot
Snail slime
Slugs
Eels
Worms
Salamanders
Fish
Rotten vegetables and meat
Raw Egg
Frog eggs
Pond scum
Bog muck
Jellyfish
Dog saliva
Wet noodles
Wet mushrooms/fungi
Lichen
Slime mold
Wet dead fall/deadwood
Algae
Salamanders
Sea cucumbers
Pumpkin guts
Squid
Octopus
Raw fish or prawns
Mud
Seaweed

Man-made:

Dog chew toys
Grease
Jelly/jam
Congealed gravy
Rotten garbage
Paper mache
Jell-o
Pudding
Noodles in sauce
dirty shower stalls
Sink sludge
Raw bacon
Boat bottoms
Dock/pier pilings

Synonyms:

Slippery, Slick, Oily, Viscous, Glutinous, Sludge, Gunk, Mucous, Goo, Guck, Gungy, Mire, Ooze

Describing texture in a story creates intimacy between reader and character, and can even cause an emotional trigger for both. To anchor the reader in the scene, make sure comparisons and contrasts are clear and relatable, and within the scope of the narrator's life knowledge and experience.

A weak example:

The port's fish market was something to see--piles of octopus and squid in plastic containers, their dripping, ropey tentacles hanging over the sides; mounds of gooey-skinned fish buzzing with flies; pails of oysters, their bumpy shells clotted with strings of algae. I shuddered and hailed a cab to take me to the nearest grocery store. I'd take packaged over fresh any day.

What's wrong with this example?

Lots of good, slimy imagery, but that's the problem...textures are most effective where you show them through touch.

A strong example:

I cringed as I dipped my bare leg into the bathtub of stinking fish guts. Ropes of cold intestines and who-knows-what slid around my skin. I brought my other leg in and bit down on a shriek as something full of puss broke open beneath my foot. My eyes teared up and my breath came in sharp, painful pants and as I lowered myself into the disgusting mass. All around me, the live audience screamed and shouted, and I imagined the TV cameras zooming in on my shaking hands as I clamped down on the sides of the free-standing tub. What the hell made me decide to become a contestant on Fear Factor?

Why does this example work?

This works because multiple senses (but primarily touch) work together to show the emotional reaction to this texture.

7 comments:

Bish Denham said...

You ladies are good!

Anne Spollen said...

Wow -- these are great -- I was actually so hooked on reading this that I went back and started over again.

Mary Witzl said...

Ewww -- you've done it again, covering all bases here. You won't catch me going anywhere near my compost heap in the next few weeks...

PJ Hoover said...

Slimy is good. And what a cool picture for the post!

Roy Buchanan said...

Love Slimy. Your mischievous side is showing through. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

This is a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.com.

May I use part of the information from your blog post right above if I provide a link back to your website?

Thanks,
John

Angela Ackerman said...

Hi John,

Yes please do link, as long as it's for content that is fine for all users. (We're a family-friendly site :))
If you have any questions, you can find our contact info right in our profiles at the top right. Happy writing!

Angela

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