Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Amazing Descriptors

When you think about it, a book is a descriptor. It describes a situation packed with joys and sorrows, friends and enemies, crises and triumphs. That situation has chapters which serve as sub descriptors leading the reader through the the book.

Each page paints even greater detail.

But the greatest, power packed descriptors are the individual phrases and words.

Finding unique ways to explain an image to readers is difficult. We find our words falling into inescapable ruts. The same phrases sound worse than a broken record: he smiled, she laughed. BORING.

Sometimes we use a metaphor or simile to rescue the scene. But after time, the page has a Valley Girl sound (like, like, like).

Recently, I stumble on a new vat of unique descriptors. With the help of two fanatic football co-workers, (Ben and Marc) I was able to research devotee football commentators whose descriptors paint unique, specific, sharp pictures of "up to the moment play action":

Sunday's Superbowl
Giants vs Patriots

I started watching football as a child with my dad. Not until recently did I notice the rich descriptors given during the game. Whether you're a viewer or a listener, you'll have instant video images in your head thanks to the announcers/commentators.

This Sunday, a wealth of vivid descriptions will nuke the sauerkraut taste of football away for non football folk.

Here are some amazing descriptors gleamed from recent games: (I turned down the crowd noises to help you hear the announcers/commentators)

He's about a third grader shy of what he should weigh
...But not losing his feet (player ran close to the sideline)
He pinballed him backwards
He sledgehammered that play
They need to stop this Juggernaut of an offense. (I had to look that up!)

Look at the real estate! (referring to the open space the quarterback had to throw the ball)
Pin point accuracy
He's got a convoy with him (a pack of opposing players trailing)
He just took him and fork lifted him.
With a buck fifty three left on the clock

Smith, their burner (fastest runner)
The safety came down like a robber
It's like Ali punching Frazier
The high fives are so firm no one better miss or they'll take it in the face.
Williams blasted into him.

The Ravens are knocking on the door
An electric stadium
He's not taking his foot off the gas
There's a nice gaping hole there
This defense is playing lights out (sleeping on the job)
That's a first down in traffic
He got waffled

What a great way to amplify and clarify words like: tackle, pass, running, fumble, audience excitement, and etc.

Grab your tacos, Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos, Tostitos, or burritos and laptop. Sit with the football fans in your life and gleam a storehouse full of vibrant descriptors not only from the announcers but also from the body language of those in your living room.

Warning: Do not watch a football game alone. Excitement unshared may not be good for your health. 4 out of 5 doctors recommend joining a spouse, brother, social group, father, sister, husband, neighbor, or someone else special in your life while viewing football.

How about you--what creative situation have you found amazing descriptors lurking?

This blog post is by Mary Vee- a foot ball fan.

Mary lives in Montana with her husband and loves to hear from her three college kids. She writes Christian young adult fiction (pirate tales, missionary and Bible adventure stories).
She thinks of writing as: Stepping into Someone Else's World.
To learn more about Mary, visit her blog


Sherrinda said...

Oh goodness, you mean I'm gonna have to start watching football with my husband now? ;) I had no idea football was so education, Mary! But as much as I would like to learn more descriptors, I am not giving up my "escape" time while hubby is watching the pigskin on the screen. It is my time to not feel guilty about writing, reading a book, or watching a movie! :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

OK, you can relax then.

But you'll miss a lot of fun! buwahahaha

Beth K. Vogt said...

Oh, Mary, you made my day! Yet another reason to watch the Super Bowl, besides hoping Eli bests Tom.

Lindsay Harrel said...

Hmm, very interesting! I definitely have noticed I tend toward the valley girl syndrome. These are some great ideas for shaking it up. :)

Keli Gwyn said...

What a great post, Mary. I never thought to listen to sports commentators and their clever use of language as they endeavor to keep their play-by-play descriptions fresh. These descriptors are awesome and serve as a great example of how to add punch to our writing.

Jeanne T said...

Woo-hoo! I love the idea of listening to the descriptors during the Superbowl game! My husband may wonder why I have my computer out, though. :) Love this idea, and it's challenging me to listen in in other places in my life too. Thanks, Mary!

Joanne Sher said...

I had NEVER thought of this - great challenge for ALL of us to listen for that kind of thing (but I'm skipping the Super Bowl regardless LOL).

Mary Vee Writer said...

OK, Joanne, you can skip the Super bowl, I'll cheer loud enough for both of us. Listen for me, K?

Mary Vee Writer said...

I cheering for the same team!!

Mary Vee Writer said...

I found myself doing the Valley Girl writing when avoiding other pitfalls. Trading one for another. Hmmmmm, not good. I need to shuffle up my descriptors like a deck of cards. (whoops-another "like")

Mary Vee Writer said...

Don't know why I hadn't noticed sports commentators descriptors before. Their world is a competitive world (yeah, go figure...sports!) The top commentators are very entertaining...and often their words are missed. But this Sunday,I'll be listening. :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Are you kidding? He'll say, "Honey, you watching the game? Awesome."
Little does he know you will also be watching his responses for future writing use. :)

Ruth Douthitt said...

Very nice! These are great examples! I wil definitely use them.

Be careful not to fall for the "traveling body parts" syndrome: "but not losing his feet..." Ha ha! ;)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Oh, you're right, Ruth, thanks. Perhaps I should email those commentators! LOL

Amanda Stephan said...

Never once has it crossed my mind that a football game had such great descriptors. I listen to the games all the time - you'd think I'd hear these! *face palm*