Saturday, February 04, 2012

Golden Advice: Season with Imagery

Hi friends, I hope you take a minute to check out the link in the sidebar to my e-picture book THE BIG FUZZY COAT. I'm a finalist in the MeeGenius! Author Challenge and if you are on Facebook I would appreciate your vote. Also check out this stunning graphic novel sample created from an excerpt of Holly Cupala's novel DON'T BREATHE A WORD. I had the great honor of serving as the adaptation author. Realm Lovejoy is the brilliant illustrator.

This month I'm offering golden advice about the craft of writing. I'm diving into the depths of imagery. Imagery is not description, mere stage stuff that literally paints the picture of story but does nothing to propel it forward. Imagery is high-octane description, multi-purpose scenery, and the magic behind the mental images. Imagery engages readers by moving forward your plot and characters. It is the emotional woof or welt weaving in and out the warp of your story.

One way to create fab imagery is by substitution. Yes, you can engage the senses with specific word choices -- crisp nouns and lively verbs, but you can do so much more. For example: She swam in a green lake. Now I will use more specific word choice and slide in substitution: With each stroke, she sliced through the Coke-bottle colored mirror without cracking the surface.

"She swam" tells us nothing about "she". It gives us no sense of what this character is about. "With every stroke, she sliced ..." The writing gives a sense of control the woman is exhibiting; she 's moving forward and hardly disturbing the reflective world around her. The substitution of mirror for water sharpens the experience for the reader. The substitution adds depth and flavor to your story. It is a seasoning so use it sparingly.

A good way to improve you imagery skill is to rewrite an crucial scene in you work without dialogue. Use the sensory descriptions of the scene to convey all the emotion and depth of your scene. Ditch all the linking verbs. Engage every sense. Here's the common: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Here are the uncommon: perception of temperature, the kinesthetic sense or the sense of where you are in relation to rest of the world, the perception of pain/pleasure, the sense of balance and finally the sense of acceleration.

Yes, weave every sense into this important scene and communicate your story. Be sure to season with substitution. Make it all work to reveal your literary dream world. Infuse your writing with the dark matter of perception. Use imagery to bring your story dreams to life.

I will be back next week with more golden advice. Thank you for dropping by.

This week's doodle, it's from my son Jesse Blaisdell. I pulled this one out of a box in the closet: "Lighthouse".

Here is your quote for the week. Let it soak in your soul.

“The sun had become a light yellow yolk and was walking with red legs across the sky.”
― Zora Neale Hurston, Seraph on the Suwanee


Jaye Robin Brown said...

Your son is a talented artist, too. I love beautiful imagery in writing that stops me short.

Vijaya said...

Oooh, this is great advice for my final revision ... I'm nowhere close to it, of course, but wow! one should really be able to notch it up doing this sentence by sentence.

MollyMom103 said...

Hi Jaye! Thanks for dropping by. I love imagery too.

Hi Vijaya, I'm not sure exactly where I start to really look at the imagery but I do feel that toward the end I start really taking up stuff some notches.

Candy Lynn Fite said...

Can you sit on my shoulder, preferably my right, as I draft this new YA??? Maybe you should gather all of your tidbit posts and call them The Writer's Tidbit Toolbox. Seriously. :)

Candy Lynn Fite said...

Ugh. Me and Facebook are in a hugemungo fight. Luckily, my two Facebooking daughters are attempting to correct the issue since Facebook continues to ignore my requests.

Unfortunately, I've had to delete my account, as the page I chose to create was "not allowed to interact with other pages." Whatever. Plan B--I have to wait two weeks to set up another page, one where I'll be able to "like" other pages.

BUT, I was able to read your adorable picture book! It's magical, Molly! I love the simplicity of the subject, yet I'm flipping through the pages as the tension builds! Ava is a girl who knows what she wants. This has it all! Even snow zombies--ha! I love it. :))

You'd have my "like" if I could. Is there some other way to vote?

MollyMom103 said...

Hi Candy, I get social media fights. I kind of got into it with Twitter recently.

I like your suggestion about tidbits. I do plan to build a little ebook or maybe two for children's writers out of my blog. Watch for more news.

Yes! I'm really proud of my snow zombies! I'm glad you liked my book. I wish there were other ways to vote. Just pass the link to someone who might be able to give it a vote if you can.

Candy Lynn Fite said...

Well, what I can do, is pass on the link by way of my blog??

I can add the link to my weekly post this week if it's okay with you! Just let me know. I'm writing a post today / tomorrow and will post it by Friday afternoon.