I … is for imagery

I[1]  is for imagery.

What is imagery in the context of writing and storytelling?

It is the use of words by the writer to suggest a picture or scene in the mind of the reader. That’s a personal definition, but I think it’s close enough. Let’s look at some examples.

Example 1.

Marcus said: “You can’t do this to me Charlotte.”

“Oh, yes I can,” she replied and laughed.

Example 2.

Marcus said: “You can’t do this to me Charlotte.”

“Oh, yes I can,” she replied, and laughed as she sliced through the safety rope. Marcus screamed until he bounced off the rocks.

 Example 3. From my short story, ‘Simply Irresistible’

‘Mark’s attention was caught by the girl’s white blouse, or more accurately its contents, because the opening at the top provided a glimpse of cleavage and a hint of white lace. Mark raised his left arm pretending to check the time so he could look straight ahead.’

At one time, fictional literature was filled with gushing, flowery prose and carried the reader along on a slow and beautiful journey through the story. The modern reader is more inclined to expect a more rapid pace, and require fewer words to fire up their imagination. They want an interesting, well-told story, but with pace.

In essence, good imagery is about using as few words as possible to conjure up a sense of place, or scene, in the mind of the reader. It can be done in narrative, or effectively within dialogue. As with all passages of writing, don’t just write it and edit it; truly imagine it. If it takes three, four, or more attempts to get it right, just keep on going, because it will be worth it.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll be back tomorrow with my word and thoughts on ‘J’.


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