CTS Entry: Square

Natural:
There are no squares in nature

Man-made:

Blocks
Dice
Keyboard keys
Baseball diamonds
Air conditioning vents
Coasters
City blocks
Cereal pieces
Window panes
Hopscotch sections
Rubik's cube sections
Tic-tac-toe sections
Stepping stones/pavers
Slices of bread
Cheese slices
Agricultural fields
Ovens
Gemstones
Magnets
Casserole dish
End tables
Quilt blocks
Calendar squares
Sticky notes
Tea bags
Throw pillows
Crackers
Lunch boxes
Belt buckles
Origami paper
Board games (checker board, chess board, etc)
Pot holders
Monitors
Windows
Jewelry boxes
Brownie pieces
Tiles (scrabble, floor/backsplash)
Napkins
Laundry shute/garbage shute door
Cd case
Stamps
Dish cloth
Face cloth
Crosswalks at intersections
Chicklet gum

Synonyms: boxy, equilateral, quadrate, quadratic, right-angled, squarish, four-sided

Describing a shape is best done in as few words as possible. Think of the shape as a camera snap shot--you want to capture the gist of what you mean as soon as possible so you can get on with other related (and more important) detail, and the action happening in the scene

A weak example:

I frowned at the brownies I'd dished up for my company. The squares looked so uninteresting against the shiny white plates.

What's wrong with this example?

It's simple--squares are, well...boring. They can't stand alone as a descriptior for contrast or comparision. More detail is needed to make the description stay with the reader.

A strong example:

The rain pattering the roof woke me from my afternoon nap and I stretched, cat like, wondering what time it was. A glance at the wall clock showed noon had long since passed. I shot up and ran for the front door, praying that I wasn't too late...but I was. There lying on the rain-drenched step was my long-awaited Fed Ex envelope, soggy and limp as a grungy dish rag.

Why does this work?

This one works because shape and texture are both utilized to not only describe the item but to also accurately describe its condition.

8 comments:

Bish Denham said...

It's true there may be no perfect squares in nature, but then there are no perfect circles either. However, there are a few things in nature that are squarish, or have rectangular features.

Cyrstals of various kinds and sorts have rectangular/cubic sides.
Lobster eyes(I know how many of us have actually stared into lobster eyes) look very much like graph-paper.

The cross section of the stem of of plants from the mint family is square.

There are polygons in nature. The balsalt pillars of The Giant's Causeway in Ireland and the Devil's Postpile in California are examples. Sometimes squares turn up in the piles of stone.

And honeycombs, although hexagonal, each side is a near perfect rectangle.

Just a few examples.

Angela said...

Thanks Bish!

True enough there are items in nature that are square-like, but probably the best way to create a recognizable and effective comparision or contrast would be to stick with something familiar to the reader, which in this case means something man-made.

PJ Hoover said...

Those watermelons crack me up! And so cool there are no perfect squares or circles in nature!
Great (as always) post!

Pat Posner said...

A big 'Hi' and congratulations from UK, Angela.
We are 'sisters-by-agent' and isn't Jill fantastic!!

Roy Buchanan said...

Another excellent addition. Well done ladies.

Windsong said...

Very nice. Thanks for all you're hard work!

Nate K. said...

The most helpful part is the synonyms. :) Especially with the word "square".

Brown-Eyed Girl said...

Thank you for this. You ladies are dedicated!

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