Texture Thesaurus Entry: Squishy



Natural:

Mud
Wet clay
Ripe bananas/pears/peaches/grapes
Cellulite
Wet snow
Cheeks
Hugs
Liver/organs
Fat
Rare/raw meat
Sea onions
Raw fish
Clams/oysters
Slugs
Mushrooms
Fresh sap beads
Egg yolk
Raisins, dates, prunes

Man-made:

Bread Dough
Play dough/Plasticine
Pottery clay
Cookie dough
Stress balls
Putty
Rubber ducky
Pillows
Teddy bears
Marshmallows
Dog chew toys
Breast implants
Gum
Jello
Soft cat/dog food
Cream cheese bricks
Taffy
Gummy bears
Memory foam
Tube of toothpaste
Perogies
Cooked noodles
Hot water Bottle
Pillsbury Dough Boy

Synonyms:

malleable, pliant, flexible, bendable, yielding, rubbery

Describing texture in a story creates intimacy between reader and character, and can even cause an emotional trigger for both. To anchor the reader in the scene, make sure comparisons and contrasts are clear and relatable, and within the scope of the narrator's life knowledge and experience.

A weak example:

I hated Halloween parties. Every one pulled the same gag--a box with an opening just big enough to fit your hand into that had a sign on it that said "Rat intestines" or "Fish eyeballs." You stick your hand in and feel up a bunch of oiled up gummy bears or perogies. For once someone should be a little realistic and visit the offal bin at a Butcher's shop.

What's wrong with this example?

While greased gummy bears and perogies are pliant, I've never seen them used in these type of boxes, have you? The whole idea with describing a texture is to choose something that the reader will recognise and to trigger memory if possible.

A strong example:

I hated Halloween parties. Every one pulled the same gag--a box with an opening just big enough to fit your hand into that had a sign on it that said "Rat intestines" or "Fish eyeballs." You stick your hand in and knead a pile of cold, slick noodles and peeled grapes. For once someone should be a little realistic and visit the offal bin at a Butcher's shop.

Why does this example work?

Noodles and peeled grapes are much more common and the shapes are better suited for what the signs indicate.

A similar entry: Spongy/Foamy


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2 comments:

Tara McClendon said...

The mental image cellulite brought up wasn't pretty. Squishy yes. Pretty nope.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great examples - I love the "cold, slick noodles and peeled grapes." You're right. They create a much more powerful reaction. I was nodding my head and cringing before I could stop myself! :)
www.shannonkodonnell.blogspot.com

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