Shape Thesaurus: Spiral


Natural:

Vines, creepers
Falling leaves
DNA strands
Sea shells
Tornadoes
Fiddle heads
Black holes
Pea plant tendrils
Spiderwebs
Black antelope horns
Crop circles
Spiral Galaxy
Fern shoots
Storms on radar
Cochlea

Man-made:

Old phone cords
Bed springs
Perms
Rotini pasta
Energy saving light bulbs
Cinnamon buns
Swiss rolls/jelly rolls
Spiral staircase
Heating coils
Springs
Bed springs
Notebook coil
Decorative bamboo
Syphilis organism
Mosquito coils
Unravelled rope
Screw threads
Spiral french fries

Synonyms:

helix, coil, corkscerw, whorled, centrifugal, curly, looping, voluted

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 leaf twisted like it fled down a spiral staircase of air and landed in the water.

What's wrong with this example?

Um, overwritten much?

A strong example:

The leaf fell in a delicate whorl, drifting to a stop on the water.

Why does this work?

Simple, nice imagery that won't trip your reader up or make them think about it too much.


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3 comments:

Bish Denham said...

Would mazes be considered a spiral?

Mary Witzl said...

Cinnamon buns. Sigh... I really wish you hadn't included that example!

Angela said...

Good question, Bish--I guess it would depend on the type.

I know Mary--Cinnamon buns are soooo scrumptious!

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