Setting Description Entry: Barn

Sight
Hay, stalls, water trough or bucket, food trough, pens, seed, grain, blue salt lick, curry comb, tools (shovel, pitchfork, broom) feed buckets, flies, spiders, spider webs, dust, rusty nails, pen gates, horse hair pinched in cracked boards/stall rails, manure, feathers, dirty straw, clean straw, bales of hay, loft, ladder, lighting on pull string, mice, animals, horse blankets, tack, brush, split door or double door, glassless windows with shutters, mud, grime

Sounds
The rustle of hay, creaking boards, stamping, thumps, whinnies, squeaks, grunts and other animal-specific vocals, huffing breath, snorting, rubbing noises as animals scratch against posts or rails, the clatter of grain spilling into a trough, the scrape of a shovel against the rough floorboards while mucking out the barn, hay bales thumping to the floor, the shush/papery rustle of clean straw being spread in a stall, the chomp and crunch of an apple treat, chewing noises, cows lowing, the swish of a tail, the squeak of a gate, a latch being set into place, the slosh of water, the clink of tack, the flutter of a horse blanket as it's shaken out, humans talking or clucking with their tongue at the animals

Smells

straw (clean and dirty), urine, manure, salt, animals, hay (dusty & slightly sweet-smelling), grain (dusty & earthy)

Tastes

Dust & chaff in the air, spit

Touch

Prickly hay and straw, chaff sticking to the neck, getting into your shirt, rough boards, sweat trickling down your face, sides and back, a band of heat where your hat sits, swiping dust and chaff from clothes and hair, pulling on heavy work gloves, the dry & hairy tickle of horse lips nibbling up a treat of apple, carrot, sugar cubes, etc, the warmth of animals pressing against you for attention, horsehide, robe burn from hoisting square hay bales with no gloves, heavy boots against the rough floor, the jarring vibration of dragging a square-shaped shovel across the floor to collect and dispose of soiled straw and manure, the pain of being kicked by an injured or frightened animal, slivers, scratching a bristly chin, patting a flank, holding up a hoof to check or clip it, moving a curry comb slowly over the curve of a horse's back or side, running a hand through the mane, pulling doors and gates shut, throwing catches, climbing ladders & tossing down hay with a pitchfork

Helpful hints:


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

Example 1:
Dara woke from her nap, wide-awake with the vague remembrance of an unpleasant dream. Her skin itched from a dozen hay pricks; the strong smell of animal assaulted her nose. As her eyes grew accustomed to the dark, she made out rough wooden stalls with milk pails stacked against the wall. She pushed away a rusty pitchfork and decided to be more careful next time she fell asleep in the barn.


Example 2:
Dara woke from her nap, wide-awake with the vague remembrance of a pleasant dream. The hay was soft, almost bouyant, beneath her; the comforting smell of horses drifted on the lazy air. As her eyes grew accustomed to the dark, she made out smooth wooden stalls and shining milk pails stacked against the wall. She stretched like a cat and smiled; she should sleep in the barn more often.

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

Example 1: (Simile)

I stepped into Uncle Amos' barn and the unholy stench of manure and filthy straw almost knocked my boots off. It was like entering a free standing public toilet in the height of summer...one that had gone weeks without being emptied.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

After a few inquisitive nuzzles at Andrea's pockets to make sure all the carrots pilfered from the garden were gone, Old Sam rested his chin on her bare shoulder. The bristles under his muzzle were sparse, an old broom sweeping at her shoulder, tickling her skin.

CTS Entry: Fuzzy


Rabbits
Kittens
Puppies
Llamas
Hamsters
Ducklings
A horse's winter coat
Fur
Kiwi fruit
Peaches
Sideburns
Beard
Mustache
Wool
Caterpillars
Bumblebees
Licorice plant
Dusty miller
Lamb's ear
Silver sage
Wormwood
Mold
Moss
Cheeks
Upper lip
Nape of neck
Newborn's hair


Man-made:

Stuffed animals
Blankets
Sweaters
Mittens
Hats
Scarves
Velour
Pom-poms
Dashboard dice
Rabbit's foot
Polar fleece
Carpet
Towels
Robes
Slippers
Socks
Tennis balls
Dog/cat beds
Troll dolls
Army hair cut
Throw pillows

Synonyms: downy, frizzy, furry, hairy, pilate, wooly, velutinous, fluffy

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 weaker example:

"Nice hair," Beth said, then pinched her lips together to hold back a grin. Mike's new goth dye job made his head look like a cheerleader's pom pom that had been struck by lightning--crispy black and sticking up in all directions.

What's wrong with this example?

This description is okay, creating a strong visual, but the best way to convey a texture is through touch.

A stronger example:

I opened the door to say goodnight to Drew, but he had already fallen asleep. Moonlight spilling through the blinds bathed his face and on impulse, I crept up to his bed and gently touched his cheek. The velvety feel brought on the prickle of tears--at his age, Drew could barely be called a boy. Soon the soft fuzz would stiffen into bristles needing to be shaved, and he would need me less and less as his independence carried him to manhood.

Why does this example work?

A bond is created between character and reader when the tactile contact triggers a strong emotion from the texture. The result is a shared, meaningful experience.

Setting Description Entry: Haunted House (inside)

Sight

Dust, cobwebs, sheets on furniture, broken tables, chairs, windows, lamps, peeling wallpaper, gaps in the floorboards, holes in the walls, flickering lights (if there's electricity) chandelier with broken strings of crystals, broken glass on the floor, spiders, cockroaches, rust, mildew, ripped curtains, shadows, gloomy staircases, old portraits & paintings, cracked or dirty doors, moving shadows, apparitions, outlines of people, objects moving by themselves (doorknobs turning, doors opening, cups falling out of cupboards, cutlery clattering, chairs rocking or sliding across the floor), mice, rats, ectoplasm, glowing lights, fireplace suddenly starting up on its own, messages appearing and disappearing on the walls or on windows or mirrors in the fog, blood or other substance, dirt, grit, ripped up books, papers and debris lying about, rodent feces

Sounds

footsteps on the stair, creaking doors, window shutters rattling on the outside, wind scattering/rustling paper through a broken window gap, words whispered in ear, screams, crying, wailing, laughter, glass smashing, the scrap of a chair moving, the scritch of tree branches scraping at the windows, rats squeaking, movement in the walls, a piano/radio/record player starting up all by itself, radio static, creaks, squeaks, thuds, bumps, scrapes, whistles, boots across the floor, locks clicking into place, creaky movement coming from the ceiling or floor above, howls, groans, cackles, cupboard doors flapping open and shut, doors slamming, creaky banisters, rustles, unidentified noises, breathing sounds, murmuring or muttering coming from other rooms, the sound of pacing

Smells

Phantom perfume or cologne, burning smells, pipe or cigarette smoke, mildew, rot, dank, rusty or metallic smells, wet wood and stone, rancid breath, yeasty beer smell, food, dust, dry rot, rat/mice feces, urine

Tastes

Sour & dry mouth from fear, dust floating in the air and coating the tongue, salty tears

Touch

A phantom hand on the shoulder, the puff of breath on the earlobe or the back of the neck, the sensation of being grabbed on the arm, pushed, pulled, pinched, poked, slapped, burned, a feeling of light-headedness and nausea, hair rising on arms or the back of the neck, the body's reaction to a drop in temperature (chills, shivering, breath puffing out in clouds, running a finger through dust, pulling back a thick drape, fingers clutching at a banister as you go up or down the stairs, pulling on the light bulb chain in the basement, stairs giving underfoot, rattling a doorknob that has locked itself, pressing a face against the glass, trying to see out, touching objects inside the house out of curiosity: a candelabra dripping with spiderwebs at the dining room table, a man's hat hanging from a coat rack, pulling open drawers and cupboards, pushing doors open with the flat of the hand, clutching at a flashlight or object to use as a weapon, desperately punching in numbers of a cell phone, bumping into furniture or walls in the dark, slipping on throw rugs or mildew, clutching at own face or hair in desperation, hugging arms around shoulders or waist in fear, cringing, jumping, trembling, a hand clutching at the mouth to stop a scream, swallowing to try to slow breathing and heartbeat, hot tears running down cheeks, a sore throat from crying

Helpful hints:


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

Example 1:

I cringed at each creak on the old warped stairs, but it didn't sway my determination to make it to the bedroom on the second floor. Halfway up, a shadow flickered at the corner of my vision. I froze, and as I stood there, caught a woody scent lingering in the air. Tobacco smoke? A shiver curled through the hairs on the back of my neck then cascaded down my backbone. It was all I could do to not hurl myself back down the stairs toward the front door.

Example 2:

Gail stepped into the nursery, her throat tightening at the thick dust floating in the air. Sunlight slipped through the cracked boards covering the window, illuminating a child's wooden rocking horse sitting out on a tattered rug. The toy's wooden seat was worn smooth, coated in dirt, and cobwebs matted the corded mane and tail.

The air shimmered and a young boy flickered into view. Gail gasped, watching his pale hands grasp at the mane, pulling himself into the seat. Slowly the horse began to rock, much to the jubilation of its ghostly rider.

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

Example 1: (Simile)

The moment I entered the master bedroom I felt it: warm, moist air brushing my ear like a stalker's breath.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

The dining room chair suddenly jolted back and tilted toward me, a gracious invitation by an invisible host.

CTS Entry: Silver


Real World Comparisons:

Nickels, dimes, quarters
Safety pins
Appliances: stainless steel blenders, toasters, microwaves, dishwashers, stoves, refrigerators, etc
Cheese grater
Cutlery
Knife blades
Mercury
Sterling silver jewelry
White gold
Paper clips
Fish scales
Tin foil
Clasps, buckles
Screws, nuts, nails
Dragonfly wings
Studs on a dog collar
Wheel rims
Bike spokes
Mirrors
Coach's whistle
Wet spider webs
Swords/daggers
CD's
Handcuffs
Suit of armor
Golf clubs
Tin
Robots
Platinum
Pyrite
Rings on a binder
Hamburger/hot dog foil wrapper
Solder
Silver metals/trophies
Ball bearings
Braces
Dryer duct hose
Stainless steel
Metal tooth fillings
Chrome detailing on cars, motorbikes, etc

Synonyms:

Argent, silvery, sterling, metal, metallic

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:

Chuck pulled up in his silver ford, black smoke pouring from the sagging tailpipe and rust blooms decorating every panel.

What's wrong with this example?

Here the color descriptor is lost among the stronger images of the black smoke and cancerous rust. If the color doesn't need to stand out, this description is fine, but if you want to draw attention to the color, don't overwhelm it with other images.

A strong example:

After the lightning fled to the East and the rumbling thunder abated, the animals began to settle in their stalls. I left the barn in darkness, breathing in the metallic aftermath of ozone lingering in the air. Above, wisps of cloud screened the full moon, marring its brightness like tarnish on a silver plate.

Why is this example better?

This description not only highlights the color through a apt comparison, it adds to the atmosphere and richness of the setting.

Grammbo's NEW Blog!!


Hi everyone!

Many of you may remember our guest editor, Grammbo, who so kindly helped readers struggling with specific grammar and punctuation questions here at The Bookshelf Muse. I'm very excited to announce that not only is our Guest Editor decloaking (Hi Sharon!), she's also started her own blog called Punctuate It!

Let me be the first to tell you...this blog is going to be COOL.

Imagine a place where you're struggling with understanding or applying a grammar rule and boom, Sharon the Awesome is there to help you out. She has extensive knowledge in Canadian, US & UK punctuation and grammar applications, so if you're at the rip-your-hair-out stage of frustration, she's the one to get you on track.

I predict that as this blog grows, the posts will become an incredible pit stop for writers needing info on all things punctuational and grammatical. Please stop by, have a look, and if there's a topic you like her to cover or a question you need a answer to, let her know! She's here to help.

Setting Entry: Swamp

Sight

Dripping trees with black trunks, rotting vegetation, scummy water, reeds, frogs, slugs, leeches, catfish, craw fish, beetles, spiders, snakes, flies, mosquitoes, gnats clouds, lizards, bats, algae, dead trees, quicksand, crocodiles, alligators, worms, rippling water, curling mist, moss hanging from tree branches, rotten dead fall, trees leaning over the water, muddy banks, slime coated rocks, gas bubbles rising to the surface, shadows

Sounds

Dripping water, splashes, the slurp of mud, frogs croaking, flies buzzing, the snap of twigs, the screech of animals/birds hunting and being hunted, heavy silence, the burp of trapped air breaking the surface

Smells

Decay, rot, briny algae, sweat, methane gas bubbles rising through the water

Tastes

Thick, stagnant air, dirt and mud mixed with sweat running into mouth, stale water from a canteen, food carried in

Touch

Sticky clothes from the hot & moist air, water seeping into boots, the chafe of wet clothing, algae, dead leave fragments and mud clumps sticking to wet skin, the bump of something in the water against the leg (a fish, dead fall, a snake, etc), a pole of wood clasped tight in the palm, used for testing the depth of water or the solidity of the ground, the sting of gnat or mosquito bites, the drip of sweat down the face, between the shoulder blades and along the sides of the body, the chill of cold water, a fluttery heartbeat at every sound and splash, the suck of mud against boots, cuts, scrapes and bruises from climbing through the dead fall, slimy moss on handholds (rocks, trees), pulling leeches off skin

Helpful hints:


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

Example 1:

Before each step, I probed the water with my yew walking stick. The murky water kept everything from view, both dangerous and benign. A sudden burst of air bubbles could be a submerged tree settling, or the rancid breath of an alligator on the hunt.

Example 2:

I slogged through the mud not knowing what was worse--the tension in my neck from listening to every drip and scrape, or the foul air that clung to every inch of my skin and filled my mouth with the taste of death.

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

Example 1: (Simile)

The leech's glossy black body had grown bloated from feeding on my thigh. Disgusted, I pulled at it, my fingers shaking at the task. The sound it made was almost a sigh, like the contentment of a fat uncle pulling away from the table after a Thanksgiving feast.

Example 2: (Metaphor)


As soon as I heard the splash, I scrambled into the nearest tree. Slimy bark provided a challenge for the treads on my boots, but I managed to make it to a creaky lower branch. I scanned the mist that clung to the surface of the water, watching as a slight trench disturbed the almost solid mass. Something was moving in the water, gently displacing the white curtain above it.

CTS Entry: Arch

Natural:

Plant stems
Caves
A snow-laden sapling
Bent grasses
An arched back
A cat stretching
Fingers tented or laced together
An eyebrow
Melon rind wedge
Rainbows
Beans
Row of teeth
Moustache
Claws
Rib bones
Wishbones

Man-made:

Bridge
McDonald's sign
The Arc de Triomphe
Tunnels
Gateway trellis
Wedding arch
Wheel well
Horse shoe
Street lights
Land bridges
Pelican wings
Underpasses
Barn roofs
Bow
some toilet seats
The letter N
Hair bands
Basket handle
Croquet wicket
Yoke
Cathedral ceilings
Castle windows
Stained glass windows of a church
Head set/headphones

Synonyms:

curve, semi-circle, bow, arc, dome, vault, bowed, archway


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) details, and the action happening in the scene

A weak example:

I gaped at the intricate shards of stained glass depicting The Last Supper in St. Bernardine's Church. I followed the facets of colors to the peaked top of the window that rose up like an angel's wing, a symbol of love and protection for God's only son, and a reminder of his sacrifice.

What's wrong with this example?

Look at all the detail used to describe the arched shape of the stained glass window! Surely the artistic rendering of The Last Supper is more worthy of description than the way the window aches at the top, right? Too, the windows of a church is something most (if not all) readers will be already familiar with, so the shape of the top doesn't require intricate detail to render it properly.

A strong example:

I bent over in the canoe, the wet paddle across my knees, soaking my jeans. I couldn't see anything in the dark--no trees outlined against the sky, no sparkles on the water, nothing. A splash sounded ahead. I gripped the paddle harder, wincing against the splinters. An arch loomed not a foot in front of the boat. I fell over backward and watched the curved underside of the bridge pass just overhead.


Why does this work?

Sometimes it's better not to get too fancy. A bridge is a fairly common sight; many are arched underneath where the posts enter the water. With such an easily-recognized landmark, a simple description is the best way to describe it so the readers understand without bogging them down in wordy detail.

Setting Thesaurus Entry: Locker Room

Sight

Lockers, locks, tile floors, entrance to showers and gym, benches, bin for dirty towels, clothes poking out of closed lockers, mirrors, faucets, bathrooms, soap dispensers, dirt/hair/wrappers/etc on the floor, empty lockers with doors ajar, scuffed gym equipment, soiled sports paraphernalia (padding, jerseys, jock straps, shoes, etc), hair brushes/combs/toiletries sitting out on the bench

Sounds

Shouts, laughter, teasing, hooting, hollering, the clink of locks bumping metal, the clang of metal doors opening and slamming shut, the thump of equipment being thrown on the benches, shoes scuffing against the floor, body spray hissing out of cans, the crinkle of potato chip bags pulled out of dufflels, backpacks or lockers, the snap of towels, zippers opening and closing, bodies shoving and bumping into lockers, echoing voices, cel phones going off, tinny music overheard from iPods & MP3 player earphones, items from the locker dropping onto the floor, shoes squeaking

Smells

Sweat, body odor, body spray/perfume, deodorant, shampoo scented steam coming from adjoining showers, grass and mud from stains on football uniforms or soccer jerseys, wet towels, dirty clothes, bleach & pine cleaners, air fresheners, hair spray/gel

Tastes

Sweat, water, sports drinks, snacks from locker (power bars, chips, granola bars, candy, etc)

Touch

Soft cotton towels, cold locker doors, chipped paint on doors, ridged lock dials, hard zipper pulls, the splash of water on the face at the basin or from water poured over neck, sweat trickling over face, down the sides and back, the sweaty cling of uniforms, the dig of tight padding, gently probing a bruised area, scrape or other injury, the stretch or ache of tight/pulled muscles, exhaustion, pressing a towel against the face, the cool tingling aftermath of removing sweat and dirt from the face and neck, cool air hitting a sweaty body after pulling a uniform off, the slap and sting of a snapped towel on skin, light hearted shoving, slapping, high fives, hugging, etc after a game, pulling hot tired feet out of footwear, the feel of a stiff bench as you slump onto it, the cool taste of water on a parched throat, trying to speak or yell with a raw throat, slamming a fist into a locker, leaning back against a locker, gripping the sides of the cool porcelain sink as you look into the mirror, shrugging into or out of padding/into or out of street clothing

Helpful hints:


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

Example 1:

I sagged onto the cold metal bench, sweat skating down my back and sides. The stink of my grungy pads and soaked uniform was almost enough to knock me out cold. My gaze stayed on the worn blue tiles at my feet as the others filed in. No one spoke; the dragging scuffle of shoes and lockers being opened with muted creaks spelled out our crippling loss just fine on their own.

Example 2:

Mike the quarterback stepped into the locker room to the roar and scream of his team mates, all rising from their benches, fists pumping the air. A huge grin split his mud-splattered face and I tossed him a fresh white towel. The excitement crackling throughout the room hummed inside my chest as everyone bumped and shoved and cheered. In that moment I didn't care about the hours of work waiting for me, disinfecting equipment and mopping out the dingy locker room. In that moment I wasn't just the lowly towel boy, but part of the winning team.

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

Example 1: (Simile)

In the narrow, locker-lined room, the coach's motivational speech made the team wince like it was being delivered through stadium speakers at a rock concert.

Example 2: (Metaphor)


I passed the boy's locker room as it opened and found myself gagging at a smell that could only be rivalled by curbside trash after a month-long sanitation worker's strike.

CTS Entry: Prickly

Natural:
Cactus
Porcupine
Hedgehog
Pine cone
Pine needle branches
Rose stems
Palmetto
Dry grass
Thistle
Crown-of-thorns bush
Sea urchin
Christmas tree
Beards
Moustaches
Blow fish
Prickly pears
Burrs
Unshaven legs
Holly leaves
Facial stubble
Durians
Pineapples
Fox tails
Briars
Raspberry canes
Straw flowers
Sunflower centers
Dry grass/sea grass
Caterpillars
Starfish
Broom tree
Barley heads
Buzz cut hair

Man-made:

Hairbrush
Pincushion
Woolen blankets/clothing
Barb-b-que brush
Cat or dog brush
Barbed wire
Fraying rope
Freshly cut lawn
Bottle brushes, toilet brushes
Dish scrubbers
Straw brooms
Hay bales
Twine
Vacuum brush head
Lint Brush
Wire brush
Crushed glass

Synonyms:

spiny, thistly, nettlesome, barbed, bristly, briery, echinate, pricky, spiky, thorny, spurred, burred, burry, quilled, prickly-edged, stubbly

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:

My hand reached out and I couldn't seem to stop it--into the cage and toward my brother's curled-up hedgehog. Its bristles were like warm needles ready to pierce my skin. Cupping it in my hand gave me the impression of dozens of hairbrush bristles making their gentle impressions in my fingers. Footsteps! I put the little guy down as fast as I could and ran out before I got caught.

What's wrong with this example?

The descriptions are imprecise. First the hedgehog's bristles feel like piercing sharp needles, then they're as gentle as hairbrush bristles. The word choices give conflicting images that will make it hard for the reader to fall completely into the scene. Since one of the purposes of sensory description is to draw the reader into the story, it's important to be as precise as possible with word choices and comparisons.

A strong example:

As the sun ducked behind late afternoon cloud, I hoisted the last square bale from the field onto the truck. Done, at last. I pulled off my work gloves and swiped at the sweat and chaff clinging to my neck. My tired smile faltered as I eyed the left stack, hanging half a foot over the lip of the tailgate. I could just imagine the bales tumbling out during the bumpy ride back to the stables.

Without thinking, I rammed my shoulder against the tower to shove it forward, completely forgetting that I'd taken my shirt off hours ago. A hiss of pain escaped my lips as stiff, golden bristles jabbed at my skin, leaving behind a nasty pattern of red scratches and punctures.

Why does this example work?

The word choice is accurate, making the texture clear both through sight and touch.

Setting Description Entry: Water Slide Park

Sight

chain link fence around the grounds, colored tubes and slides standing/twisting high in the air, staircases, water dripping from rides, puddles of water everywhere, lifeguard stands, flags flying, wet patrons in swim suits, towels, wave pool packed with people, inner tubes, beach chairs, umbrellas, colorful kiddie park with water shooting/spraying/spouting, concession stands, picnic tables, lockers, restrooms, kids splashing in the play area, kids running, teens standing in groups, long lines on the stairs, sunbathers, lifeguards with walkie talkies, paved pathways, rust, signs for different slides, water carpets, life jackets, kids with water wings, pools, band aids and hair ties floating in the water, garbage cans, people stretched out in the sun on towels, tables with sun umbrellas, lights signalling when it's okay to go at the top of slides


Sounds

bodies moving swiftly through tubes/down slides, screams, laughter, conversation, parents yelling, kids crying, water dripping/splattering/splashing, staircases creaking, feet slapping on the pavement, feet splashing through puddles, piped-in music, wind whipping the flags around, announcements over intercom, lifeguard whistles, lifeguards yelling through megaphones, cell phones ringing in sunbathing area, slurp of soda through straws, crinkle of food wrappers, fart of mostly-empty ketchup/mustard bottles, restroom doors opening and closing, echoed screams/hooting in tubes

Smells

chlorine, bleach, water, sunblock, suntan oil, wet bathing suits and towels, food smells (hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, pizza, nachos), bubblegum, bug repellent, mildew


Tastes

chlorinated water, sweat, sunblock, oil, hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, pizza, nachos, gum, bottled water, soda, candy bars, ice cream


Touch

pavement burning your feet, jumping from puddle to puddle to keep soles of feet from burning, slap of concrete against running feet, chafe of wet bathing suit, wedgie from big huge slide, water in your eyes, wet hair sticking to your neck, sunburn, sticky feel of sunblock/oil, warmth of beach chairs, sticky closeness of crowds, wooden/plastic/fiberglass railing of stairs under your hands, trembling in belly as you get closer to the top of the stairs, dizziness/fear/excitement as you look over the top preparing to go down, water splashing on skin, annoying sting of wet towels being snapped against your skin, refreshing coolness of cold drink or ice cream, squishy feel of the air-filled inner tube as you float along, cold air in restroom, waves in wave pool rolling over you, bug bites, sun burn, smooth hot rubber of inner tube boats, scraping fingers through knotted, wet hair, water spraying the face, the sting of water up the nose, water in the ears, cramps in stomach

Helpful hints:


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

Example 1:

I yelled into my walkie, trying to be heard over the sound of hundreds of shrieking kids fighting over inner tubes at the drop off point or running past me to climb the main staircase. It was an hour past my break and the smell of french fries from the concession was driving me nuts with its satisfying promise of grease and salt. Only a month into the season and I knew I'd made a mistake. Why did I ever think this job would be more exciting than my usual group kiddie lessons at the public pool?

Example 2:

I ran up the steep stairs behind Matt, ignoring how the gritty non-slip strips on the steps cut into my feet. Sure, they'd be sore tomorrow, but today all I cared about was getting in as many runs as I could on the Gut Buster. Both Matt and I planned on beating our previous summer's record of forty trips down the triple diamond rated water slide.

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

Example 1: (Simile)

At the top, the green light flashed. Sean gave me the thumbs up and then threw himself into the rushing water like a thrill seeking body surfing down a waterfall.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

A huge wave flew over the side of the slide above my stern Aunt Edna, drenching the picnic table where she sat planning out my summer lessons. The textbook before her was ruined, and Aunt Edna, well... Her puffy hair hung in soggy flaps and her carefully made-up face drizzled with mascara and water. I hid a smile, thinking of an ice cream cone left out in the sun.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...