Color Thesaurus Entry: White

Real World Comparisons:
Clouds
Milk
Cottage Cheese
Sour Cream
Egg whites
Whipped cream
Coffee creamer
Pearl
Snow
Frost
Bone
Rice
Daisy
Swan
Cabbage moth
Maggots
Dandelion fluff
Cotton
Teeth
Toilet Paper
Elephant tusks
Bar of soap
Dove
Magnolias
Whitecaps, sea foam
Aspirin
Salt
Sugar
Marshmallows
Polar Bears
White out
Computer paper
White boards
Coconut
Packing popcorn
Cauliflower
Ghosts
Golf balls, baseballs, volleyballs, ping pong balls
Styrofoam
Wedding dress/veil
Hand/face cream
Vanilla Ice cream
Vanilla frosting
Chiclets gum

Shades of white: Ivory, milky, snowy, alabaster, lily-white, frosty, pearly, bone

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:

After the light snowfall, our yard was a sheet of white, like clouds had fallen from the sky and blanketed the lawn.

What's wrong with this example?

At first this might appear as strong description, but the the more you think about the density and appearance of clouds, the more the image starts to resemble mist or fog than a thin crust of snow. Think carefully of not only the color, but the consistency of what your comparing to ensure a strong fit on all levels.

A strong example:

After the light snowfall, our yard was a sheet of white, like a tablecloth of freshly woven cotton waiting to receive the evening bounty.

Why is this example better?

This one conveys both a clean, fresh appearance and matches the thin coating implied by 'light snowfall'.


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8 comments:

Anita said...

chalk

Angela said...

Good one!

PJ Hoover said...

Your color entries are by far my favorite ones. Love the shapes, too, but colors are such a great way to capture detail!

Kelly said...

I like your strong example!

Your list is so yummy and fluffy til I got to maggots. :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

This post made me think of the white out conditions that happen in Antarctica (not that I've been there!) where the ground, horizon and sky all become white, nothing else to oriente people.
Love these great words and examples you put here.

Angela said...

Haha, I knew someone would pick up on the maggots. Still, it's all about the comparisons, right? If you're describing a corpse, saying the skin was as white as a daisy just isn't going to cut it. :-)

Thanks for all the comments, everyone!

Tara said...

Love it!

Mary Witzl said...

Anita beat me to it. (She must be a teacher too...?)

Now, why am I craving marshmallows?

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