Happy Halloween


Hey everybody!

The usual setting post today has been bumped by the O great holiday of witches and ghouls: Halloween! I'm celebrating by watching horror movies, and so thought I'd share a few of my favorites (funny and scary) with you.

Here's a few flicks to round out your spooky night that I have enjoyed in the past.

Zombieland
1408
Underworld
Rosemary's Baby
Army of Darkness
Child's Play
Candyman
Blair Witch Project
Interview with a Vampire
Nightmare on Elm's Street
Children of the Corn
The Shining
The Ring
28 weeks
I Am Legend
Hellraiser


I'm sure I'm missing tons, so if you're a fan of the scary flicks, please add a few of your favs in the comments. Happy Halloween, all!

Shape Thesaurus: Spiral


Natural:

Vines, creepers
Falling leaves
DNA strands
Sea shells
Tornadoes
Fiddle heads
Black holes
Pea plant tendrils
Spiderwebs
Black antelope horns
Crop circles
Spiral Galaxy
Fern shoots
Storms on radar
Cochlea

Man-made:

Old phone cords
Bed springs
Perms
Rotini pasta
Energy saving light bulbs
Cinnamon buns
Swiss rolls/jelly rolls
Spiral staircase
Heating coils
Springs
Bed springs
Notebook coil
Decorative bamboo
Syphilis organism
Mosquito coils
Unravelled rope
Screw threads
Spiral french fries

Synonyms:

helix, coil, corkscerw, whorled, centrifugal, curly, looping, voluted

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:

The leaf twisted like it fled down a spiral staircase of air and landed in the water.

What's wrong with this example?

Um, overwritten much?

A strong example:

The leaf fell in a delicate whorl, drifting to a stop on the water.

Why does this work?

Simple, nice imagery that won't trip your reader up or make them think about it too much.


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Setting Thesaurus Entry: Attic

Sight

insulation, exposed wooden beams, pipes, wiring, exhaust fan, porthole window, cracks showing light, airflow tubing, mice/rat/small animal feces, bugs, spiderwebs, dirty floors, dust, boxes, barrels, trunks, old furniture, broken vacuums, children's toys, old clothing, Christmas decoration, sheets covering antiques, dust floating in the air, board games, rolled up rugs, dusty picture frames/paintings stacked against the wall, animal tracks in the dust, beetles, dead flies/bees/moths, floorboards, mildew stains from a leaky roof or window, grimy window & window sill, taxidermy collections, dressmaker's dummy, rocking chair, old curtains/window treatments stored in garbage bags, trunks with war memorabilia (soldier's uniform & gear) old Halloween costumes, high school memory items, trunks with wedding gifts/wedding memory items, rag rugs, fold down staircase, light bulb & pull string, old shoes/cowboy boots/roller skates, collectibles long forgotten, stand mirrors, hats, hat boxes, boxes and bins of books

Sounds

creaks, squeaking mice, scampering feet, claws against floorboards, fabric crinkling, the wind out on the roof, voices hear through the floor, footsteps, music or movement floating up through air ventilation, rain against the roof, thunder and lightning, water running through the eaves

Smells

insulation, mouse/rat/possum droppings, mold, mildew, sawdust, dirt, damp wood, dry rot, rotten fabric, wet cardboard, cold metal

Tastes

damp air, stale air, dust, gritty teeth from dust trapped in the air

Touch

Feet against wobbly stairs, reaching out to grab a beam, carefully moving drop cloths to minimize the dust in the air, running hands over a cherished toy or item, pulling back cardboard flaps, the cold metal hinge on a trunk, pushing/shoving a heavy lid, coughing on dust, waving hand in front of face to ward off dust, picking way across beams or past soft spots in the floor, stepping to avoid feces, jumping or flinching at the sight of a mouse, holding up an old dress/outfit to chest, imagining wearing it again, running hand carefully over a lace or fragile cloth, lifting a hat from a box and settling it on the head, sorting through junk, running hand over something, trying to understand what it is, carrying something over to the window to see it better in the light, leaning against the windowsill to see outside, rubbing a hand over dirty glass to see through it, bumping into junk or working past something cumbersome, bumping a hip, jarring a funny bone or causing an accidental scrape, pushing a key into a tarnished lock on a chest, lugging something out into the open, stubbing a toe on something lying on the floor, losing balance

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

The one-eyed doll, leaning drunkenly against an old vacuum, faced the back of the attic where the strange thumping noise seemed to be coming from. Her sadistic smile of rotten stitches made me feel like she knew something I didn't.

Example 2:

Just my luck to draw the attic as my room to dejunk. The far wall was lined with old peanut barrels, each full of Aunt Ethel's clothing and who knows what else from before the war. I rolled up my sleeves, and eyeing the rat droppings on the floor, decided to grab a pair of rubber gloves before braving the barrel's contents.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

Mouse turds were everywhere, scattered all over the floorboards like rice at a wedding.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

Thanks to an industrious family of mice, my old High school band uniform had been reduced to doll stuffing.

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Texture Thesaurus Entry: Crusty


Natural:

Scabs
Dried sea foam
Lime
Dried Tears
Tree bark
Water scale
Eczema
Chips
Conjunctivitis
Dry gulch/riverbed
Dehydration --skin, lips, etc
Dandruff
Sunburn
Barnacles
Scabby potatoes

Man-made:

Meringue
Buns
Scones
Over gelled hair
Bread
Pastries
Pie crust/Pizza crust
Cookies
Rust
Freezer burn
Custards, baked gratin
Fried batter
Sugar/salt rim on drink glass

Synonyms:

Flaky, crispy, brittle, well baked, scabby


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:

After two days wandering lost in the Mojave desert, Oman's face was crustier than a freezer burned steak.

What's wrong with this example?

Desert...freezer burn? There's a lot better comparisons that don't mess with the hot/cold thing going on.


A stronger example:

After two days wandering lost in the Mojave desert, Oman's face was crustier than a charred loaf of bread.

Why does this example work?

This one provides a good crusty comparison and has the added bonus of a visual tying sunburn to burned bread.
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The Power of a Great Story

Sorry I'm still trying to figure out how to put the vid here instead of just the link. Still, this one you gotta see.

Happy watching!

YouTube - Wardrobe (The Closet) - Canal plus

Setting Thesaurus Entry: Ocean/Sea Bed

Sight

sand, shells, sea cucumber, coral (brain, staghorn, sea fan, sea whip), rocks, fish (tuna, cod, swordfish, clown fish, salmon, blow fish, sunfish, sailfish, marlin, grouper) octopus, crabs, clams, conch shells, sea horses, plankton, sand flats, gravel, shoal bottoms, sea grass, eels, lobster, manta rays, sharks, shipwrecks, sea sponge, anemones, prawns, algae, star fish, old netting, timbers, ship debris, tires, bottles, trash, seaweed, sea snails, turtles, sea snakes, whales, sea glass, dolphins, barracuda, squid, jelly fish, sea urchins, scum, fish carcasses, ruined exoskeleton of crabs and lobsters, lobster/shrimp/crab traps, divers, snorkelers, boat bottoms, air bubbles, sunlight shadows, caves, caverns, currents, boat wake trails, garbage collections, barnacles, ledges, cracks, crevices, rope lines, rusted chain, anchors, octopus


Sounds

Breathing through a tube, whale calls, the hiss of air, air bubbles


Smells

Canned air, rubber, sealant on the mask, sweat


Tastes

Metallic oxygen, spit, salt water, brine


Touch

The feel of water against the skin and wet suit, air bubbles tickling the skin, hair rising up from the scalp, waving in the water, running fingers through the sand, brushing against coral or rock, fins knocking into solid objects (sea bed, shipwrecks, other divers, rock, fish), fish brushing against hands or body, water currents pushing at the body, skimming hand over a turtle shell, reaching down to pick up a shell or piece of debris, adjusting hoses or air flow on a tank, making sweeps with fins, steering with arms, pulling self along the ocean floor by touching debris, floating with the current or swimming against it, long sweeps of the arms as you go to surface, kicking feet to propel yourself forward, straps rubbing at the back of the head and sides of the face, heavy gear & tank pulling at shoulder blades, brushing at the sand to see an object, or fanning the water close to the sea floor to use it to dislodge sand, swimming backwards to move away from a danger (sharks, barracudas, octopus, jelly fish, etc), swimming through portholes/doors of abandoned ships,


Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.


Example 1:

Donna didn't know where to look first. Schools of neon blue fish danced in the water currents, lacy fans of purple coral waved as clown fish chased each other around the stems. A rusty crab scuttled across the sand, startling a slumbering manta ray, which took off in a puff of white sand. Here in the quiet sea she felt like God had set up a private show just for her.


Example 2:

My heartbeat roars in my ears as I yank and twist at my foot, trying to not scrape my skin--the last thing I need is blood in the water. God, how did this happen? Only a minute ago I'd been leaning over the rock formation to grab that shot of the jellyfish and now my foot is buried by loose rock. Gulping at my oxygen, I jerk my head from left to right, trying to spot another diver, praying someone will find me before something larger and more dangerous does.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

Sophie screamed into her snorkel; dozens of tiny fish squirmed against her, snacking on the decorative sequins on her swimsuit like some glittering buffet.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

A dark shadow slid over me and I looked up to a wall of gray flesh--a humpback whale passing between me and the surface.


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Color Thesaurus Entry: Gold


Real World Comparisons:

Jewelry (wedding bands, earrings, bracelets, chain necklaces, watches, etc)
1st place medal or trophy
Bullion, gold coin, doubloon, sovereigns, etc
Nuggets, bars
Chocolate bar wrappers (Cara milk, etc)
Brass doorknobs, bells, handles
Champagne foil
Foil wrapped hearts/eggs (Easter/Valentine's Day)
Buckles, buttons, zippers
Pirate treasure
Beer
King/queen's crown
Christmas tree star
Gilded armour, clothing
Animal eyes (cats, eagles, etc)
Amber
Pyrite
Sparks
Goldenrod flowers
Honey
Straw
Fantail gold fish
Gold fillings/teeth
Bling
High end pens
Embossed diplomas/degrees
Embossed business cards, personalized day planners/business materials, etc
Glitter
Make up dust
Perfume bottle tops
Canadian Loonie
Sunlight
Gold thread/wire
Gold Leaf
Headlights/illuminated porch lights, street lights, etc

Shades of Gold:

Golden, gold hue, amber, gilt, gilded, hazel, honeyed,

Make every detail count

Colors are powerful descriptors, not fillers. Make sure that if you use a comparison or contrast to highlight a color, you choose the right one. Look at the setting and atmosphere you are working to create, then draw from the viewpoint character or narrator's history, education and past experiences to find the right fit.

A poor example:

In the sunshine, golden highlights flecked her hair in honeyed ribbons.

What's wrong with this example?

We've got conflicting descriptors--are the highlights flecks, or ribbons? Be concise. Plus, all these descriptors take this close to purple prose territory.

A strong example:

Sunlight transformed her hair into spun gold.

Why is this example better?

It's clearer and has better word economy. Most times hair is something to give a sound bite on to get an image across before moving onto other detail about the character. You don't need to go overboard describing it.


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Setting Thesaurus Entry: Waiting Room

Sight

Tattered magazines, coffee table filled with magazines and travel books, cardboard holders with pamphlets, advertisement posters on the walls, a receptionist's desk, hallway leading to exam rooms, rows of chairs, a toy corner for children (blocks, books, coloring table, trucks), metal chairs with thin-padded seats, a ticket counter & counter clock, clipboards, paperwork, pens, pencils, a computer, file folders, filing cabinets, nurse/people in lab coats or medical scrubs, business card holder with cards, people waiting to see the doctor/dentist/specialist/professional, a wall mounted TV, remote control, box of tissues, sign to the bathroom, a sign reminding people to take their valuables with them, fake plants in the corners or on an end table, waste basket, candy jar at reception, coffee machine (complimentary)

Sounds

Pages in a magazine flipping, people clicking keys on their cell phones, playing games or texting, low whispers, coughing, throat clearing, heavy breathing, the rustle of clothing, the phone ringing, doors opening and closing, the receptionist calling out a name, staplers, mouse clicking, a cell phone ring going off, the scritch of a pen as you sign your name or fill out forms, the flop of a heavy book as you drop it back onto the table, the squeak of a chair as you rise out of it, heels clicking across the floor, printouts in a printer or fax machine, sneezes, sniffing, gum chewing, children talking to parents, asking questions or expressing boredom, the hiss of air conditioning or heat

Smells

Cologne, perfume, hair products, body spray, warm printer/computer/electronics, dust, room deodorizers, cleaning products, cough drops, minty gum, bad breath, hand cream or purel, a bouquet of flowers sitting at reception, wet shoes (if rainy/snowy)

Tastes

Water, candy from reception, dry throat, cough drops, medicine, gum, mints, complimentary coffee/tea/hot chocolate

Touch

Clamping arms on chair grips, crossing, uncrossing legs, a thin padded seat digging at backbone, shifting to get comfortable, getting up to check out magazines on the rack, leaning against the reception counter, digging in wallet or purse for health care cards/insurance info/payments, a pen gripped in the hand, signing forms, shaking the pen to get it to release ink, the dry, papery feel of ruffling through paperwork, warm paper against the fingertips fresh from a copy machine, the crinkly plastic as you open a candy, rolling the neck to loosen a kink, bumping elbows with the person sitting next to you, sorting through magazine choices on a table, pressing down on chair grips to rise up, the back of a chair digging into the palm as you use it to steady yourself to stand or sit, heels bumping metal chair legs, being bumped by purses or bags as someone walks past your chair in a tight space, running hands nervously through hair, fingering at clothing, a cell phone, playing with coat buttons or buckles because of nerves or boredom, pulling on a cold brass door handle, holding out paperwork to the reception personnel, scuffing shoes against the thin carpet or floor tile, tapping or swinging feet as you wait, the slide of a sleeve on the wrist as you raise your arm to check the time on your watch, a folded jacket warm against your arm as you hold it on your lap

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

I recrossed my legs and flipped through the same Woman's World magazine for the tenth time. If I didn't give my hands something to do, they would surly throttle the nurse who was too busy gossiping with her coworker to actually prep the examination room and maybe do something about the increasing wait time.

Example 2:

While Mother was in with the doctor, I snatched glances at the other patients in the waiting room. For some, like the woman with the head scarf concealing her baldness and the man with the tight ball cap pulled low, it was easy to see why they were waiting to see this particular doctor. Other patients broke my heart though, like the little girl whose hands were clenched in a worrying knot and the tiny, elderly man who looked lost and frightened in his flimsy hospital gown. I blinked back tears. Cancer had a lot to answer for.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)


Behind her desk, the receptionist noisily worked over a piece of Juicy Fruit like a wrestler laying a beat down on his opponent.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

I eyed the dark brown door of the examination room where the doctor was waiting with my test results and imagined a black hole ready to suck away my future.

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Shape Entry: Star




Natural:

Star anise
Apple core cross section
Star fish
Balloon flower
Lilly
Tomato stem
Mystic vine
Maple leaves
Sweet gum leaves
Star wort
Seed placement in a pomegranate
Star fruit

Man-made:

Star of David
Sheriff's badge
Christmas tree topper
Star of Fame
Gold star stickers
Wheel rims
Star Spangled Banner
Star sapphire

Synonyms:

Pentagram, hexagram, pentacle, starred

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:

Her bright, dangly earrings dragged on her lobes like two gargantuan sweet gum leaves.

What's wrong with this example?

The shape and size is right, but how heavy are sweet gum leaves, or any leaf for that matter?

A strong example:

Her bright, dangly earrings dragged on her lobes like two gargantuan gold-plated starfish.

Why does this work?

Here the shape, size and weight are all right. Plus, using a live creature (or formerly alive) as a comparison only adds to the ridiculous image.

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Creating Effective Atmosphere: FALL


As writers, we think carefully on the setting we use for our stories. The where and when of each scene is not only an anchor for both story and characters, it provides readers with valuable information. Settings should be chosen to enhance the events taking place and create tension. If characters are pressured by their environment, they are forced to confront themselves and rise above fear or weakness.

When choosing settings, one thing that isn't always considered is the season in which the story takes place. Sometimes an event (school starting, Christmas, Baseball season) dictates when a story happens in the calendar year. Other times the choice is up to the author. Whichever scenario is true, the writer should always think about the season and how to make it work for their story by building up the scene's atmosphere. What seasonal details can you use to bring out the most from your settings and create a strong mood?

Fall offers huge potential for atmosphere, especially for darker books -thrillers, mysteries, paranormals, or anything that requires situations that allows for strong emotions/themes like fear, worry, distress, abandonment, betrayal.  Autumn is a full of natural changes that get us thinking along these darker lines--the way the air turns chill and the ground becomes a dumping ground for dead, moldering leaves, the smell of the earth growing more noticeable and pungent with decay as life gives way to death. The days grow shorter, more gloomy, and the nights are cool and silent as animals seek burrows and birds leave the area to find warmer climes. Autumn is all about contrasts--the beautiful colors, the rich smells, the crisp sounds, but also underlying it all the knowledge that death is near and that nature is preparing for dormancy.

Whether you use Fall or another season to create atmosphere, it's important to draw on more than just sight to paint the picture for the reader. Remember that readers are pulled into a scene by recognition and shared experiences. Sight might be the most 'used' sense, but it is not always the most powerful for forging an emotional reader response. The writer can 'show' the wind blowing dry, curled leaves along the sidewalk and we can see it. But add the slithery paper sound it makes? We experience the scene on a whole new level--it's a detail we recognize, something that stands out.

So when you describe, think in layers. Did you know that out of all the senses, memory is tied to scent most of all? Sounds, textures, tastes and smells are powerful ways to allow the reader to experience the scene and the seasons are full of descriptive details to draw from. Use all the tools in your descriptive arsenal, including seasonal details to create a brilliant atmosphere and reader association.


The Secret Lives of Parents

I was MIA this weekend for a much needed Internet free break. Hubby and I took a small trip up to our neighboring city Edmonton for two days sans kiddos. We did the West Ed shopping of course, stayed at a nice hotel and ate some of the best cupcakes I've ever had. So a few things that made the weekend extra special?



Socks. Here's the deal--socks make me happy. I don't know why, but they do. I like colorful, interesting socks, and if I can find the fuzzy kind that are oh-so-warm and soft, I MUST BUY THEM. I like socks like other women love shoes. Besides, with Calgary being on the cusp of winter, a good pair of socks can mean the difference between retaining all ten toes or not come Spring. 



Second of all, We discovered a Cupcake Coffee House of awesome proportion: FUSS. And, bombarded by the sheer weight of yummy choices, we opted for the mini twelve pack sampler rather than the big kahuna cupcakes. Oh the decadence of nibbling on cupcakes for the next day. My favorites were probably West Side Story and The Full Minty. All of them were winners tho. If you find a FUSS in your neighborhood, try it. I promise you won't be disappointed.

And the cherry on the weekend cake you ask? I picked up Catching Fire  at Chapters! I've been holding off getting it because it is always sooooo hard to wait for the next book. I know once I read book 2 it's back to w-a-i-t-i-n-g to see how the series wraps up. GAH! I am so impatient, but I've lusted for this book ever since finishing The Hunger Games, so I finally caved and bought it.



So that was my weekend. How was yours?

Setting Thesaurus Entry: Basement

Sight

Wooden steps, cement floor with small cracks in it, floor drain, cobwebs, bare bulb light with a string pull switch, washing machine, dryer, freezer, boxes, recycling bins, bins full of Christmas/Halloween/Thanksgiving decorations, old electronics stacked in a corner, run down or broken furniture, shelves with food cans, preserves, cases of light bulbs, warehouse packs (toilet paper, paper towel, other 'bulk household supplies', laundry soap, bleach, dryer sheets, stain remover, laundry tub or sink, pile of rags, trash can full of old dryer sheets and lint, shadowy corners, boxes piled up, a jumbled row of paint cans, seasonal supplies (golf club storage, sports equipment, work out equipment, camping gear) broken TVs, VCRs, DVD players, old sagging boxes of records, baby supplies/equipment, stacks of newspapers for recycling, spiders, bare beams/drywall/insulation, grungy mat placed in front of washer and dryer, Furnace, filters, hot water tank, old rolls of extra carpet/lino/boxes of extra floor tile, tools, electrical box, pipes (copper & plastic) dryer hose, wiring running along the ceiling/walls, dust, dirt, damp spots on walls, mildew, mold, broken lamps, storage cupboards, ironing board

Sounds

Footsteps walking overhead, the dryer slapping clothes around, a chugging washing machine, creaky steps, the raspy noise of a cardboard box sliding against the floor, the click and then whoomp of a furnace pilot light catching, clicking/ticking of metal when the furnace shuts off (metal contracting), the gurgle of water in the pipes, scratching noises, creaking, the groan of a shifting wood beam, creaky storage cupboard doors, buzzer on dryer going off, the slam of a dryer door or washer lid

Smells

Must, mold, mildew, scented dryer sheets, laundry soap, bleach, cleaners & cleaning supplies, hot clothing from the dryer, damp clothes from the laundry, wet boxes, rot, an ozone-like tang from metal/cement

Tastes

Bitter saliva (fear), a tang in the mouth from the damp cement walls and floor, dry mouth

Touch

Running a hand along the wall for balance on the stairs, stairs moving underfoot (slight give), a shaky banister, yanking on a pull cord to turn on the light, running up or down stairs on tiptoe for silence and speed, clenched fists, tension in body, bumping into boxes, knocking over stacked objects (paint cans, junk, toys that the kids have outgrown), peeling back cardboard flaps to search for something in a box, lifting/heaving to get a a box or other item, sorting through junk (lifting, paging through, stacking, rearranging, shoving, pushing, climbing awkwardly over items), the feel of warm laundry on hands and arms as you fold, the clammy chill of the air on the skin, moving cold, wet laundry out of the washer and chucking it into the dryer, holding hands out in front of you if you're in the dark or feeling the air ahead with hands or feet, the weight of a full laundry basket, carrying it up or down the stairs

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

Martha flicked on the switch and raced down the creaky steps, her crayon pail swaying in one hand. Daddy had stacked all the empty moving boxes in a tower next to the washing machine and had told her she could do whatever she liked with them. She stared at the mountain of cardboard, imagining it as a grand castle. A flattened box could become her drawbridge and if she swirled the dirty blue towels sitting in the laundry hamper around the walls, she'd even have a moat.

Example 2:

Brock let his foot sink onto the first creaky stair. While the light up here seemed bright enough, it didn't push much further than a few feet beyond the bottom of the stairwell. The tool chest Dad sent him down here for seemed impossibly far away, past shadowy stacks of camping gear and broken furniture. He swallowed, then spun back to the door. Maybe he'd just grab a flashlight first.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

When I reached the top of the stairs, I hit the light switch. Below in the darkness the washing machine slurped and sloshed and burped, like a monster enjoying a tasty meal.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

The smell emanating from a stack of boxes in Grandma's basement almost turned me cross-eyed. In the dim light, I made out the word, mementos scrawled across each of them. Mementos of what, her days as a serial killer?

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Texture Thesaurus Entry: Pitted

Natural:

Unpolished marble
Sandstone
Orange peel
Honeycomb
Acne scars
Barnacles
Avocado skin
Molars
Strawberries
Coral
Sea sponge
Moon's surface
Hardened lava
Peach pits
Almond shells
Potatoes
Pumice
Anthills
Termite nests

Man-made:

Old concrete (sidewalks,etc)
Cracker tops (Ritz, soda)
Weathered brick
Rust blooms
Golf balls
Sponges
Weathered buildings and statues
Old tombstones
Linoleum
Old coins
Hand-blown glass (bubbles)
Corks
Sponge toffee
Aerated lawns
Pavement

Synonyms:

Pock, honeycombed, cratered, pocked, pock marked, spotted, marked,

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:

Janice smiled at her date, taking note of his expensive suit and watch. He wasn't the best looking guy with his face a pitted road map that detailed his long and wretched history with acne, but he obviously had cash. His slumped shoulders and hopeful gaze said he'd part with it too if it meant getting someone like her to play the role of arm candy.

What's wrong with this example?

This isn't bad, but it's a bit weak because the texture is explained rather than compared or contrasted to something of a like texture.

A strong example:

Janice smiled at her date, taking note of his expensive suit and watch. He wasn't the best looking guy with his thinning hair and a face more pitted than a cheap linoleum floor. Obviously had cash though and his slumped shoulders and hopeful gaze said she'd be able to walk all over him.

Why does this example work?

This comparison has nice symmetry. Not only does the lino comparison give a good image of what his skin looks like, it segues well into showing how Janice likes to treat her men. The texture has done double duty, providing not only physical description of one character, but also the personality of the other.

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