Texture Thesaurus Entry: Crackled


Natural:

Walnut shell
Papery or scaly skin
Dried mud puddles/riverbeds
Lightning
Disintegrating leaves
Marble
Dried mushrooms
Canyon fissure
Earthquake fissures
Fault lines
Eye blood vessels
Quartz
Palm lines
Veins on a leaf

Man-made:

Burnt timber (charcoal)
Manufactured electricity
Static electricity
Old, peeling paint
Antiqued paint technique
Mummified remains
Brownie/cake tops
Gingersnap cookies
Worn leather
Varicose veins
Crackled hand blown glass
Bone fractures
Old china
Cement floors
Damaged windshields
Antique oil paintings
Maps

Synonyms:

fissure, crackle, splintered, fracture,

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:

Great Aunt Edna always had a hard look to her, but thirty years of feuding with her two sisters had done her no favors. Her skin had the appearance of well-worn leather and deep frown lines cut at her cheeks and lips.

What's wrong with this example?

Two things to note here: a bland description and also somewhat overused. Think about it--how many times have you read a comparison between skin and leather? If you can, try to stay away from it and don't be afraid to get a little creative.

A strong example:

Great Aunt Edna always had a hard look to her, but thirty years of feuding with her two sisters had done her no favors. Her scaly, sallow skin had bagged into craters beneath her eyes and the frown marks cutting into her cheeks and lips had become full blown fault lines.

Why does this example work?

This one gets across the skin texture and unkind aging but does so in a fresher way.


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6 comments:

Elana Johnson said...

I like to use this word as a verb. It's very "crackly." :)

Karen Lange said...

Love this one! Thanks for the examples too. They're always helpful:)

Bish Denham said...

Fantastic!

Niki said...

Crackled is such a neat word :o)

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh god, the dreaded wrinkle cliche. Crackled is the perfect way to kick it to the curb. Love it!

Daisy Whitney said...

Nice work! I like your thesaurus-ing!

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