Setting Thesaurus Entry: Bridge


Wide open sky, clouds, fog, sun, birds, river/creek/ocean/crevasse, bumper to bumper cars, pedestrian walkway, cyclists, concrete pillars, capstones, spires, wires, chains, piping, birds nesting, bird poop on concrete slabs, barriers separating car traffic from foot traffic, sign posts, pavement, car exhaust, steel, struts, steel pins, metal grating, rust, graffiti, trash, tossed cigarette butts, toll booth, motorcycles, traffic lanes, cables, support beams, towers, railing, pedestrian gates, rain, sleet, thunderstorms, snow


The shaking hum of rubber tires against grates, the creak of cables, car engines roaring, horns honking, birds (seagulls, geese) crying out as they fly, car radios/sound systems, the whistle of wind whipping past struts and pillars, boat horns from the river, footsteps/squeal of gates/creaky railing when using the pedestrian portion, the squeal of too-tight brakes


Exhaust, brine/algae from the river, rusty metal, salty ocean, pine trees, sweat, stale cigarettes, dust, dry air, motor oil


Snacks in the car, water bottle, cold coffee, gum, mints, cough drops, dry mouth (if outside), cigarettes, toothpaste or mouthwash if commuting to work


Inside the car: Hands loosely holding the steering wheel, lifting a travel mug of coffee and bringing it to the lips, fiddling with the radio/stereo to choose music, flipping switches and knobs to turn on A/C or heat, foot on accelerator or applying brake, the flutter of wind against the side of the face if the window is open, turning neck to shoulder check, driving one-handed other hand resting on leg, checking cell for messages or (yikes) texting, checking hair and make up in the mirror, picking at bangs to straighten hair, rolling neck side to side, adjusting a tight shoulder strap, reaching for a map, Kleenex, tool change, etc. On foot: wind flapping against shirt, snapping at hair, dragging strands across cheeks and in eyes, hard cement underfoot, leaning against the railing, holding a camera and taking pictures, squinting against the bright sky or waves of sun-splintered water below, nodding hello to other walkers, sweaty feet rubbing in shoes, sweat making clothing adhere to skin, locking fingers into the straps of a backpack, taking a swig from a water bottle, whistling, the weight of a cell phone on hip, the slight shimmy of movement beneath the feet at the bridge flexes and cars roar past

Helpful hints:

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

Example 1:

Sleet soaked my shirt and pummelled my raw, exposed skin with painful icy darts. My eyes slits, I leaned into the wind, flinching every time a car sent an ocean of water fanning up from the tires. I'd only just passed the halfway point of the bridge and already the vibration of rush hour traffic had numbed my legs from the knees down.

Example 2:

As my car inched along, the full force of the sun sizzled my right side and sent trickles of sweat down my neck. All the windows were down but completely ineffective; the air was muggy and thick with the promise of a thunderstorm. I leaned on the horn at the idiot in front of me. If he kept letting people into this lane, we'd never get off this god-forsaken bridge!

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

Example 1: (Simile)

Rust blistered the steel struts like a terminal case of skin cancer.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

Whoever said walking to work promoted a healthy lifestyle never had to cross a bridge during the rush. I could chain smoke a pack of cigarettes and my lungs would still come out ahead.

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Stina Lindenblatt said...

I loved your metaphor. :)

Susanne Drazic said...

LOTS of useful information in your posts Angela. Thanks for taking the time to share.

Karen Lange said...

Good stuff, thank you. Have a good weekend,

Conda V. Douglas said...

Thank you--a great thesaurus, as usual!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love how thorough you always are - like remembering to to do the bridge setting either in the car or on foot. Good stuff Angela! :-)

Julie Musil said...

Whew! I FELT that! Great post.

Ann Marie Wraight said...

Super post...when I read your blog I feel as if I'm sailing in a sea of tempestuous waters but feel so take a reader through all the emotions possible to imagine.


Bish Denham said...


Angela said...

Many thanks, all of you. :) Have a great weekend!!

Christina Farley said...

I just wanted to tell you ONCE again how much I love your blog. Such a resource.

Mary Witzl said...

I loved those examples too, especially the last one. After I come here, I always feel like buckling down and writing!

Susanne Dietze said...

What a helpful post. Thank you!

Danyelle said...

Great examples! I love bridges. :


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