I’ve been learning a lot about poetry lately, specifically how to use imagery to your advantage so the reader gets a clear and fascinating picture in their head.
How to Use Imagery in Your Writing
Using imagery is something that I’ve struggled with and even now have to be extra conscientious of as I write. However, I feel like I have started to get the hang of it. Here are the three tips that most stood out in my mind.
1. Expand and specify
When you say, “She went to her room and sat on her bed,” don’t stop there. This is your chance to give us a glimpse into her life, her surroundings. What is her bed like? Is it queen-sized with a bedspread that doesn’t have a single wrinkle in it? A twin bed with faded sheets that are riddled with holes? With a couple well-chosen details, you can say so much about your character and your story.
2. Be weird
Don’t be afraid to get a little out there with your descriptions, especially when it comes to similes and metaphors. Sometimes the strangest comparisons are the ones that work the best. Clichés are tired, predictable, and boring. Instead of describing the snow like, “glittering stars falling from the heavens,” compare it to, “ash drifting to the earth, burning cold.” You can be dark, gross, optimistic, or anything else you want to be. Just get creative.
3. Use the five senses
This is one of the tried and true methods, of course, but it’s a good reminder. Don’t leave smell and taste out of your passages, the often forgotten senses in writing. But be careful not to make it a checklist situation, either. You don’t need every sense in every description, especially not all in a row where it’ll be painfully obvious what you’re trying to do. Pick one or two that make the imagery unique and exciting.
How do you keep imagery fresh in your writing? Let us know in the comments.
Keep these three tips in mind as you write for fifteen minutes about your character trying a new restaurant. Focus on the imagery and really put us into the story. When you’re done, if you’d like to, share your practice in the comments. Don’t forget to give your fellow writers some love, too!