Shape Thesaurus Entry: Heart


Natural:

Heart
Bleeding Heart blooms
clover leaves
Strawberries
Galešnjak, a heart-shaped island in Croatia
Calla Lily
Barn owl's face
Chestnuts
Anthurium flower
Lime tree leaf
cherries
Chicken breast
Lips

Man-made:

Valentine's chocolates
Paper valentines
Heart locket
jewelry
decorative waffles
Cookie cutter
Cake pan
Carved tree hearts
Doodle hearts
Friendship necklaces
hand hearts
Sweethearts
candy hearts
Card suit: Hearts

Synonyms:

none

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:

Lola's bright green eyes and flawless ivory completion suited her chicken breast-shaped face and drew attention wherever we went.

What's wrong with this example?

Nothing says pretty like a jiggly raw chicken breast! C-l-a-s-s-i-c bad comparison here.

A strong example:

Lola's bright green eyes and flawless ivory completion suited her heart-shaped face and drew attention wherever we went.

Why does this work?

I chose this one on purpose to illustrate that sometimes you will run into a circumstance where the best description means using using the actual shape. Had I been describing her lips, a pair of earrings, the way Lola held her hands together, thumbs across knuckles, I could have used something as a comparison. But with her face, there's really nothing on the list that would work. I should also add that 'heart-shaped' skirts overused territory, so consider carefully when using it.


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3 comments:

Marian said...

"I should also add that 'heart-shaped' skirts overused territory, so consider carefully when using it."

That's a good point. The first time I read about a character with a heart-shaped face, it was Melanie in Gone with the Wind, and I loved the description. But that suited the style of the book (which was written how many decades ago?) and her personality.

These days, it's less likely to work for me.

Mary Witzl said...

Love that chicken breast face! No matter how purple my prose may have gotten, I don't believe I've ever gone that far. I do remember reading an awful description of a woman's legs once, with far too many words in it.

(Marian, I remember Melanie's heart-shaped face too!)

Angela said...

I agree Marian--it really depends on the style of the book as to whether you can get away with it or not.

Mary, I have to admit, I do enjoy indulging in purple prose for educational purposes in these entries. Fun fun fun!

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