CTS entry: Oval & Oval-like

Natural:

Faces
Lemon
Egg (robin, ostrich, chicken, lizard, crocodile, turtle)
Leaves (Beech, birch, hornbeam, alder, juneberry, elm, witch hazel, dogwood, mint)
Fish
Flower petals
Seeds (pumpkin, wild cucumber, beans)
Pebbles
Sea stones
Fingernails
Gems
Turtle shell
Mango
Papaya
Ponds
Mussels
Fresh water pearls
Almonds
Olive
Rice grain
Wheat
Kiwi
Cockroach
Wood/water beetles
Potato
Corn cob
Spaghetti squash
Pine cones
Rain droplet

Man-made:

Football
Boogie board
Tanning salon eye protectors
Some buttons on phones, fax machines, etc
Shampoo bottles
Nail buffers
Platters/plates/bowls
Loop Earrings
Mirror
Swimming pool
Watch face
Cameo pin
Locket
Dining room table
Rug
Bracelet/brooch/other jewelry
Fancy buttons
Race track
Football Stadium
UFOs
Tanning bed
Vitamins (cod liver oil, multi vitamins, Vitamin E)
Sun glass lens
Toilet seats
The bowl of a spoon
Jellybean
M & M peanut
Egyptian cartouche
Tennis racket
Inflatable boat/dingy
Cruise ship

Synonyms:

Tear drop, ovate, ovoid, elliptic, prolate, loop, almond-shaped


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:

After adjusting my snorkel mask, I lowered my head into the blue-green water. All along the pier, schools of colorful fish lazed about, hiding from the Caribbean sun. Up ahead, a particularly ugly fish caught my attention--an oval shaped thing with fat, grey lips and wicked looking teeth. It hid underneath something the same size as it, which I figured must be the foot of another hotel guest sitting on the pier above with his legs dangling into the water. I surfaced to warn him what lurked beneath the bottom of his foot and ended up choking on a mouthful of salt water. The only thing in front of me was an anchored rowboat, about seven feet in length. An image of the monster's knife-sized teeth ripping through my wetsuit sent me flailing backwards, away from the boat and the freakishly huge fish beneath it.

What's wrong with this example?

The description is a bit long and rambly, which steals a bit of the punchline--a fish the same size as a row boat. Tighter description along with a more specific image than 'maybe a guy's foot' will bring more oomph to the twist at the end.

A strong example:

The amber pendant hung against the hollow of her throat like a glistening drop of honey.

Why does this work?

The description here is economical and offers a concrete image of both color and shape.

8 comments:

PJ Hoover said...

So very good! And I want an amber pendant that looks like a drop of honey. Nice visual!

Bish Denham said...

Oooo, good example! Lickable.

Angela said...

Me too!

Angela said...

Lickable. LOL, Bish...now the example sounds all naughty or something!!

Lapillus said...

So great!

I'm not sure I've ever used an oval or oval-like descriptor. Neat!

I always love your examples by the way. SO well written!

Kelly said...

I was thinking: these shape/texture entries would be a great resource for grade school teachers to use in their classrooms, too!

Jessica said...

Wow I love the strong example! Nice.

Anne Spollen said...

I second Kelly -- these would be great tools for writing lessons, especially for getting them started.

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