Colors, Textures and Shapes Entry: Prickly

Pine cone
Pine needle branches
Rose stems…


Woolen blankets/clothing
BBQ brush
Cat or dog brush
Barbed wire…

Synonyms: spiny, thistly, nettlesome, barbed, bristly, briery, echinate, pricky…

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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8 Responses to Colors, Textures and Shapes Entry: Prickly

  1. Vivian says:

    Good use of texture. Very helpful. Thanks!

  2. LadyFi says:

    Love the two examples of the use of prickly!

  3. Robyn says:

    I was thinking about this today. You made me think. Thanks. 🙂

  4. Cindy says:

    Thanks for the example. I’m going to keep this in mind as I work on my next manuscript.

  5. Yat-Yee says:

    Welcome to my blog and I’m digging yours. What a fantastic way to charge our minds. Textures are great. I am constantly touching things (like my children) and in food, I care as much about texture as I do about taste and aroma.

  6. PurpleClover says:

    Awesome! Makes me think I need to go back through my ms thinking about contradictions and correct descriptions!

  7. PJ Hoover says:

    Thanks! Here in Texas we have lots of prickly things around!

  8. Mary Witzl says:

    It’s interesting: I could SMELL the hay while I was reading your second example; I felt all sweaty and sticky and prickly, too.

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