Before I get into the nitty gritty aspects of imagery, here are some common phrases that are often frowned upon in the literary world:
When writing, it is important to keep in mind all five senses, touch, smell, hearing, seeing, and tasting. Many writers only take into account the visual sense, but the other senses are just as important. As a guideline, having about three senses included in your piece is a good starting point to having well-developed imagery. When the reader is looking at a scene, in which multiple actions are occuring, they need to visualize it in order to understand what is happening. For example, if you are writing a scene in which a house is on fire, and all you describe are the yellow-orange flame engulfing the house, the reader cannot visualize themselves there, thus making them lose interest. But, if you describe the smell of burning wood, the echoing cries of the owners of the house, and feeling little ashes fall on your shoulders, then the reader can be engrossed into the piece.
Imagery, according to its definition, is meant to add depth and perspective to the author’s literary work. While it is encouraged to include as many of the five senses into your work as you can, do not add unnecessary details, or ‘fluff’. Every description you use should have a purpose in the story. You should also include details that are not already known by the audience. For instance, if you are describing the morning sun on a summer’s day, do not simply say it is yellow. The reader already knows this, so include something else. Maybe describe how the sun’s vibrant rays strike through your room window, or how you squint your eyes looking in its direction due to its prominence. To put it simply, do not restate the obvious. Having more ‘fluff’ will not make the piece more interesting, it will only take away from the piece’s main idea and could confuse the reader.
Do you have specific questions about imagery that weren't answered in this section? Leave a comment down below and the author of this post will respond to it when our next entry is posted. Note: Comments posted after 12/13 may not be included.
Questions from "Making a Setting a Home":
How do you properly take inspiration from other cultures for your own world-building purposes while also honoring the original real-world sources?
One word: research. Do your research, do extensive research, take notes, find the details. The best way to find the facts from the culture is from an actual person, whether an interview or a blog post. Take multiple opinions, find the parts of the culture you’d like to integrate into your own world. But, most importantly, never forget that you’re honoring a culture. Make sure that your adaptation isn’t offensive through stereotypes, and make sure it isn’t taking away from the culture by omitting a necessary element to a tradition.