Colors, Textures & Shapes: Gritty


Morning eye gunk
Tartar on teeth
Dried tears…


Nail file/buffer
Facial scrubs (exfoliation)…

Synonyms: Mealy, coarse-textured, tophaceous, rough, sandy…

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.

Textures are a powerful tool for pulling readers into the narrating character’s world, so don’t skimp.

Looking for ways to encourage that shared empathy bond between your readers and the hero? You’ll be happy to know that this thesaurus has been expanded by 60% (many new entries to explore!) and integrated into our online library at One Stop For Writers. With One Stop’s cross-referenced searchability, adding texture to your writing has never been easier, so if you’re interested in seeing a free sampling of the updated Texture Thesaurus and our other collections, head on over and register.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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Mary Witzl
11 years ago

I hate sandy, gritty stuff, so I read this through with a clenched jaw: reminds me of sanding furniture, or painting the kitchen once during the worst sandstorm of the year.

And I’ve just given up reading a book with overdone comparisons! Honestly, the author should have come here first to take a look at that weak example. He’d have learned plenty.

Keri Mikulski
11 years ago

Interesting. I learned about natural and man made things.. I had no idea. 🙂 Love the examples. Thanks!

Christina Farley
11 years ago

Never would have thought of these metaphors. Interesting

11 years ago

Thanks, Jessica.

T. Anne, I saw the White Oleander movie, but didn’t read the book. It was good, I take it?

11 years ago

Hmm. Good advice to have the voice matching the metaphors/similes/whatever they are. 🙂

T. Anne
11 years ago

This reminds me of the first time I read WHITE OLEANDER by Janet Fitch. I was struck by the intense narrative, the way she was able to weave together her analogies in an odd poetic manner and yet it worked because it fit the mood and the character.

If done the wrong way it could, no wait…it WILL ruin your work.

Nice post.