CTS Entry: Barbed and Spined


Beaks (owl, eagle, falcon)
Thorns (raspberry bush, rose bush, blackberries bush, brambles)
Cockle burr
Holly leaves
Prickly pear
Sea urchin
Venus Fly Trap
Hedge hog
Pine needles
Sting ray
Date Palm
Aloe Vera Plant


Barbed wire fences (ranches, farms, prisons, mine fields, government areas)
Decorative knives/swords
Wrought iron fences
Weather vanes
Fish hook
Spear gun
Hair brushes
Pet brushes
Curry combs
Serrated knife
Toilet Brush
Fire poker


Spur, nub, quill, needled, bristle, thorny, horned, spike, briary, burry

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 mugger held his knife out, a long, curved blade with a spurred backbone, made for causing more damage coming out than it would going in. I handed my wallet over; the forty bucks I had in it wasn't worth losing my life.

What's wrong with this example?

The words chosen to describe the shape don't create a precise image.

A strong example:

The mugger held his knife out, moonlight glittering off a wickedly barbed edge. A huge blade like this had to be all show--it was a ridiculous choice for a back alley shakedown. Still, as he waved it back and forth, you couldn't help but imagine the kind of damage it might do. I handed my wallet over, the forty bucks I had in it not worth the risk of being wrong.

Why does this work?

This example puts more emphasis on how the shape causes a heightened emotion rather than over explain the look of it.


Jessica said...

It's so cool how you do this. Must be great for the creative juices. :-)

spamwarrior said...

The second one is WAY more precise. Whoa.

A Mom's Choice said...

Thanks for sharing your sensory stimulation for all to enjoy. When I worked with Alzheimer patients I had to come up with different sense activties to stimulate them. Now, I'm working on a book and I'm finding it so difficult to share the 5 senses. Do you have a sensory post for anxiety? Funny thing is I had started my own listings for things like clothing etc and began an emotion part as well. It's mind boggling.

Venus said...

The first example made me think of someone who must really like knives and it made me uncomfortable!

The second one was more like a story which makes sense, unless, of course, you really like knives.

Great tool for building as always.

Becca said...

Actually, it seems like we missed an Anxious post. We'll discuss and may follow up with that at some point. Thanks for the suggestion :).


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