Shape Thesaurus Entry: Wavy


Natural:

Calla lily flowers
Waves
Water currents
Open flame
Smoke
Sand dunes
Steam
Heat waves
Tidal Mega ripples
Ridge line
Sound waves
Sweet pea petals
Grass and sinuous leaves in the breeze
Snakes
Rivers
Tree roots
Tide lines
Veins
Ridges of the brain
Sedimentary layers
Muscles against skin

Man-made:

Flags in the wind
Bed skirts
Silk
Swimming pool reflection
Ripple afghan
Corrugated metal
Corrugated cardboard
Hill side
Foothills
Golf courses
Shoe tread
Multi-flavored ice cream (neapolitan, butterscotch ripple, etc)
Log cabin walls
Kite tails
Streamers
Roads
Hair & perms
Ribbon
Lines on a map
Unravelled rope, string or twine

Synonyms:

Ruffled, curled, ripple, sinuous, snaky, squiggly, fluid, undulating, billowy

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) detail, and the action happening in the scene

A weak example:

As Anna danced, her silken movements flexed and curved like corrugated metal.

What's wrong with this example?

While corrugated metal is wavy in nature, it is also set in that state. Any attempt at movement would be stiff, not silken or fluid. As well, not everyone would be familiar with this type of wave and it interferes with their ability to 'see' the image being conveyed.

A strong example:

As Anna danced, her silken movements were as fluid as sweet grass kissed by a passing breeze.

Why does this work?

This comparision lines up better tp convey the image and is within the scope of experience of most readers so they will connect to it.


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11 comments:

Angela said...

Hey...does anyone know how to get rid of the 'undefined undefined undefined' under my name? I've looked everywhere and can't figure out why it's doing that!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Good morning, Angela. I'm sorry I can't help with your undefined problem, but I do love your post. Sweet pea petals and kite tails...lovely. One more for the folder! :-)

Elana Johnson said...

I love the imagery of the fluidity in the last statement. Great job!

And as for the "undefined" thing, it must be in your HTML code. Have you looked there?

Angela said...

Thanks Shannon!

Elana--I'll look into it this afternoon. Last time I played with my HTML I almost lost my blog *gulp* but I think you're right--it has to be in there somewhere. Thanks!

Bish Denham said...

That "undefined" thing is kind of funny...you who try to help define things for us!

Another excellent post.

Bish Denham said...

That "undefined" thing is kind of funny...you who try to help define things for us!

Another excellent post.

Jess said...

Please, please... don't play with it if there's any chance of losing your blog. I just found you and I'm learning so much. This was a wonderful post.

PJ Hoover said...

You know, I think your blog is what's missing from my latest ms. Must revise...

Christina Farley said...

I laughed over your bad example. So funny! Great post.

Kathy McIntosh said...

Great post, esp. the photo. Regarding the bad example, I wonder if that kind of metaphor ever works when trying to establish a character's voice? An off-beat, wacky voice. Not sure.

Angela said...

Kathy, I think that the metaphor or simile or any other type of descriptive comparison/contrast should definitely showcase voice! Whatever word choice should give the reader insight into the POV character's mindset and personality. We're seeing through their eyes afterall, not the author's or our own. :)

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