Color Thesaurus Entry: Spotted

Real World Comparisons:


Butterfly wings
Spotted owl
Deer faun
Spotted Salamander
Rash (measles, chicken pox)
lily pads on a pond
Rot on a banana or mango
Gold dust plant
Diaper rash
Pollen on flower petals
Age spotted skin
Brown Trout
Dragon fruit
Duck weed
Cowbird egg
Dew on a leaf
Leaf blight
Pig skin
Stargazer lily

Man Made:

Polka dots on fabric
Chocolate chip cookies
poppy seed cake
Blueberry muffins
Rust blooms
Water spots on tables
Blood splatter
Medical electrode tape on skin
Lighted disco ball
Rain on a car hood
Oil stains on a driveway
Pot holes on a road

Synonyms of Spotted:

polka dot, rash, pimply, dots, dotted, freckled, seeded, mark, stipple, pip

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:

Once the snow melted, Dan finally got his first look at the backyard of his new home. He shook his head; Mary had been right--they should have never bought a place belonging to dog breeders. The grass was more spotted than an overripe banana.

What's wrong with this example?

It's a little weak: banana small, yard big. Also, by the description I don't know if it's spotted by holes dug by dogs, or those scabby-looking pee marks all over the grass. We need something that sends a good, concrete image leaving no doubt.

A strong example:

Once the snow melted, Dan finally got his first look at the backyard of his new home. He shook his head; Mary had been right--they should have never bought a place belonging to dog breeders. The yard had more holes than a country road.

Why is this example better?

This one's more comparable in size and paints a pretty disheartening picture.

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Mary Witzl said...

Ladybugs were the very first thing I thought of here; clearly great minds think alike!

Ann Finkelstein said...

This one is especially fun.

Bish Denham said...

How many remember the comicbook character Little Dot? She was all about dots.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I don't know why, but this post makes me think of Gerard Manley Hopkins's poem, "Pied Beauty".

Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise Him.

ElanaJ said...

I used the word "freckled" the other day in my WiP. I was like, "oooh, good word!!"

Conda V. Douglas said...

I love these different thesauruses! Good work.

Niki said...

This is a great blog. I look forward to your posts. Thanks! :o)

Karen Lange said...

I like this one. "Spotted" just sounds so interesting, with so much potential.
:) Thanks!

Angela said...

Mary we think alike because we wear the same tin foil hats!

Thanks Ann!

Bish I remember her! She was on the knowledge network sometimes (I grew up with three TV channels and that was one of them).

Shannon, that is so beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing it!

ElanaJ--I do that too. A word will hit me and i get shivers because it's exactly right!

Conda and Niki, thanks so much for stopping in and commenting!

Thanks Karen! I hope it helps!

ralfast said...

Weak comparisons, the bane of many a writer (myself included). Thanks for the list.

LJCohen said...

Just found your blog, searching for expressing character emotions in writing. This place is just what I was looking for! Thanks!

PJ Hoover said...

diaper rash! LOL!

And I love dice.
Great post as always!


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