Setting Thesaurus Entry: Teen Bedroom Closet

Sight

Clothing on hangers, laundry hamper, pile of rumpled clothing, orphaned socks, shoes lined up in a row or thrown together in a jumble, shelving, coats, books, board games, stuffed animals, keepsakes from childhood, boxes of Cd's, old electronics, scarves, ties, bathrobe hanging off the door, mirror on the inside of the door, folded sweaters, box of photos, dirt/lint on the carpet or floor, school books, belts, gym strip, sports equipment (tennis racket, football, padding, sports shoes, swim goggles, basketball, volleyball, etc), duffel bags, back packs, purses, folded or scrunched notes falling out of pockets, loose hangers on the floor, coins, balled up socks, loose leaf paper, study notes, old marked tests and quizzes crinkled or folded, bobby pins or hair accessories, hidden alcohol/drug/cigarette stash, candy or gum wrappers, a hidden ash tray, stray buttons, loose threads

Sounds

Music from the bedroom, squeaky door hinges, a shift in the clutter that leads to an avalanche when the door is opened, silence, clinking of metal hangers, rustling fabric as you sort through clothing options

Smells

Dirty laundry, dust, shoes, gym socks, a mouldering lunch forgotten in a backpack, fabric softener, lingering perfume/body spray

Tastes

Dust

Touch

Turning or pulling on a knob, sliding hangers along the bar, sorting through clothing, feeling the different cloth textures (wool, polyester, cotton, silk, chenille, denim, etc), sliding hand down along the sleeve of a shirt and holding onto the cuff as you decide whether to choose it or move on, plucking a ball of lint or hair from a piece of clothing, holding jeans up to waist to guess if they will still fit, fingering a loose button, scooping scattered dirty laundry int a basket, flinging aside clothing on the floor to find a matching pair of shoes or lost bit of homework, shifting through shoe boxes of treasures to look for something, pulling a rumpled pair of jeans and shaking them out to decide if they can be worn again, snagging sports equipment and shoving it inside a duffel bag, kneeling down to paw through a blob of clothing and books and shoes to find something, throwing something inside the closet and closing the door, leaning against a folding door to force it shut, cold metal hangers under the fingertips, taking down something old and meaningful from the shelf to remember it, like a stuffed animal or old sports trophy, tapping finger against the lip in indecision, biting lip, nudging foot at a messy floor to see what all is there, sliding shoes on to see how they look with a clothing choice, eyeing the contents of a messy closet to determine if a parent has snooped

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

Betty Ann knew there was nothing in her closet, nothing but her folded up sweaters and jeans lying neat in their drawers and her old collection of teddy bears sitting on the shelf now that she was too old to display them out in the open. No, there was nothing in her closet...but after watching The Ring, she decided to get out of bed and close the half inch shadowy gap of the door anyway.

Example 2:

Rocky took a deep breath and yanked the closet door open. Only an old dress shirt that barely fit him still hung on a hanger; the rest of his clothing made a multi-colored heap on the floor. The ominous smell made his visits short and he'd become a master at spotting and grabbing what he needed as fast as possible. Right now it was his ball glove, and with a quick dart of his hand, he snagged it out from beneath a pair of mud-encrusted sneakers. Once the door was shut, Rocky let his breath go and headed out to the park.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

Inside Bobby's closet the overflowing laundry hamper had tipped over like a drunken teen experiencing his first keg party.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

Gini pulled the door open a few inches, wincing, and then peeked into the shadowy crack. When it appeared that an avalanche of clothing was not about to mow her down, she flung the closet door open and began flipping through the hangers for something to wear.

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9 comments:

PJ Hoover said...

Sweet! You seriously have the best example ever!

Arlene C. Harris said...

I am *so* glad I found this blog through Nano... a teenager's room (including the closet) is actually a plot point and I bookmarked this thing so when I go back into editing, this post is my new BFF to flesh out the descriptives :-)

Excellent work! Much appreciated.

Tara McClendon said...

Wow. This post reminds me of what my closet used to look like. :] I'd add moth balls to the taste. Or cedar. My mom was always tossing one or the other into my closet. And they both added an odd flavor to the air.

Kate said...

What did you say? Clothing on hangers? That's not my teenager's closet. His clothes are all on the big shelf - the floor.;)

Another good list.

Erica said...

Awesome. I could use this. I'm writing a YA :) Thanks again!

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

This is a great one! My room used to be littered with fallen Teen Beat pin up posters because my mom wouldn't let me put tacks in the wall, so she made me use that putty stuff and it never held, lol. So my room looked liked it had rained New Kids on the Block. :)

Keri Mikulski said...

Good one. :)

Mary Witzl said...

Once again, great examples.

Everything is spot on here except for that very first sentence in 'Sight': 'Clothing on hangers...' Clothing actually ON hangers? I don't believe mine ever achieved that. And don't forget the monotonous whine of Mom's nagging voice!

Mary Witzl said...

Ooh -- I just saw Kate's comment. I was pretty sure I wasn't the only one with sloppy teenagers, but it's nice to be reassured just the same!

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