CTS Entry: Saw-edged



Natural:

Tree line (pine/spruce)
Leaves
Thorny canes (branches)
Shark teeth
Humpback whale fin
Snapping turtle shell
Carnivore fossilized teeth
Wing feathers (in flight)
Maple leaves
Green Alder leaves
Ferns
Pine cone sections
Cone flower petals
Mountain ridge line

Man-made:

Serrated knife
Hand saw
Circular saw
Rip saw
Picket fence
Backhoe scoop
Garden rake
Tiara or crown
Roof view of suburbia
Wrought iron fence
Spurs
Arrow Fetching
Cupcake baking cups
Pleated blinds/shades

Synonyms:

Serrated, pleated

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:

Up on my hidden ridge I spot thousands of dirty, weather-beaten enemy tents sprawling across the pass like the slats of a poorly built white picket fence.

What's wrong with this example?

A few things weaken this--first, the comparisons of dirty canvas tents and a white picket fence don't match up, no mater how poorly the install happened to be. Second, if we are to describe the tents as being saw-edged it suggests neat rows, whereas 'sprawled' suggests a wide-spread or even half-hazard image.

A strong example:

Up on my hidden ridge I spot thousands of the enemy's dirty, weather-beaten tents. They snap and crackle in the wind like a scruffy forest of foreign trees determined to root.

Why does this work?

This one suggests an enemy not yet beaten, that the men inside the tents are rooted and calloused as the trees themselves.


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10 comments:

PJ Hoover said...

Solo Angela!

this is a great one. Something I don't normally think of but that can leave a lasting impression with the right choice of words!

Tara said...

Interesting. I like the example you use.

Mary Witzl said...

I love the image of tents snapping and crackling in the wind. I like the way you show an effective image and a less than ideal one; it really helps me with my revisions.

MG Higgins said...

These are great. Thank you!

Vivian said...

I will never look at meatloaf the same way. Great post!

Danyelle said...

Okay. This is odd. I clicked on Diner, but at at Saw-edged. >.< (Which was also lovely.)

I love the way I can almost smell and hear the diner as I read your descriptions. They were fabulous as always! Thanks for the time you devote to helping so many out. :D

Angela said...

Not sure what's up with the comments. I think I have a gremlin. But thanks everyone, no matter what post you're commenting on!

Nora MacFarlane said...

Meatloaf and roadkill... ew.

Loved the post!

Sara Jackson said...

Thanks for the info. I often have a hard time describing the five senses through the characters. Sense, for me, are a hard thing to put across in fiction. There are just so many ways to describe the smell of a Thanksgiving dinner, or taste of something bad.

Thank you for the hints.

http://sara-jackson.blogspot.com

Angela said...

Glad it helps, Sara!

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