1. Kimi-chan
    Offline

    Kimi-chan Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    My own little world~

    Writing the write Imagery...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Kimi-chan, Nov 21, 2011.

    One thing that I find myself running into as a problem is imagery. While its something I've tried so hard to improve, I always fail. I have a photographic memory but the problem with it is that... well... I can't just come up with images in my mind for my story, developing it and then explaining it in expressive words. I was wondering... what kind of things you do with imagery and anything you try to do to improve it so its easier to explain.

    I really want to improve on this to give my readers to feel and picture what I'm thinking.
     
  2. Blue Night
    Offline

    Blue Night Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    Describe what's in your heart.
     
  3. Kimi-chan
    Offline

    Kimi-chan Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    My own little world~
    *sigh* I don't know how to improve my imagery... that's why I'm looking for tips. The only thing I know how to do is emotional imagery and written emotional expression. I can't explain the scene of things in good detail. I've tried but I never knew the words to explain the scenery around my characters.

    I never said that I wanted people to explain my imagery... I said I wanted ideas to improve it so that I could become better at it...
     
  4. Midnight_Adventurer
    Offline

    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hi!

    I totally understand where you're coming from, I'm not terribly good at it imagery either, but I’ll offer the best advice I can nonetheless :)

    --At this stage I'd suggest taking a break from writing your story and try a few description exercises. Go to the park, or look out your window or even your kitchen and in 100 words your less describe what's around you. This will help you focus on the most significant details and prompt you to be very selective in your choice of words.
    --Draw inspiration from what's around you and what's familiar. If you're struggling to describe a cafe scene for example, base its environment around a cafe you're familiar with. Not only will you be familiar with all the sounds, sights and smells but it'll be a lot easier than trying to create something from scratch.
    --Do a bit of world building by sitting down and creating some rough drawings of some certain scene locations. I'm no artist, but being able to have a visual cue of where your characters are in their world is a great help for scene setting. I did a recent and very crude map of a school for my novel.

    I think the most important thing to remember with imagery is you don't always have to use colourful, flowery language to convey your settings. Keep your descriptions accurate and clear and let the reader fill in the gaps.

    Well, that's all I can give you. I hope it's helpful.

    Good luck! :D
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Rennuruof
    Offline

    Rennuruof Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Utah, USA
    What I like to do is make myself the character. Before progressing to the next part of the story look around yourself and describe what you are seeing. Are you in a grove of trees? What time of year/day? I use this because one of the stories I'm working on, my main character wakes up in a grove. That helped me a lot in creating the atmosphere my character was in.

    Mike
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Kimi-chan
    Offline

    Kimi-chan Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    My own little world~
    YEah... that actually is a good idea, especially since in my current story, I based some of my characters on me and my friends. I tend to use their personalities to inspire me to develop them.

    I actually like this idea... I'll probably have to do it when I'm more focused and such though... since I always have a hard time being focused. That's actually another issue so I won't worry about that. XD
     
  7. Ixloriana
    Offline

    Ixloriana Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    the internet
    To be honest, you don't necessarily need much more than the relevant facts. A reader will do much of the work for you.

    Have you got an example of something where you think you need more imagery? What point of view are you writing in? If you are writing from the point of view of a character, describe what they see or notice. If you are writing from a more omniscient view point, it's harder, though -- you have to show the reader the picture you are seeing.

    A good exercise might be to look for pictures on the internet of things like nature or people or rooms or whatever, and then describe them. (Actually, that might be a fun forum game. I wonder if anyone's tried anything like that? I haven't looked....)

    Ahem, anyway.... Go to a place like deviantART or Flickr and grab some pictures that inspire you, then describe what you see in them. What do you see first when you look at the picture? What color is the light? What textures do you see? What shapes? What does what you are seeing remind you of? What does what you are seeing make you feel?

    And remember not to rely on just sight. What do you hear? The bustle of the city? The chirping of the crickets? The slow drip of water echoing ominously? What do you smell? Fresh-baked bread? Grass? Smoke? What can you feel? The wind in your hair? The warmth of the sun? The rough wood of a park bench? The smooth surface of a polished table?

    A good thesaurus is nice for this, too, but remember not to over-use it. Whatever you do, remember not to interrupt the forward momentum of your story to describe things... unless, of course, that's your intention. :D


    ...Sorry for rambling on a bit. I hope it helps a little. Good luck!

    Edit: Ninja'd! Guess that's what I get for taking so long to ramble on and on! Hopefully I'm still a little helpful, ahaha~
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Devrokon
    Offline

    Devrokon Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Canada
    For Myself

    I tend to get a steady flow of images myself, I think drawn from the subconscious mind, and try to blend them into some sort of reality in order to reinforce them and make it all work out.

    Write and rewrite, it's the prescription.
     
  9. Cacian
    Offline

    Cacian Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,907
    Likes Received:
    5
    for imageries , you could go for walks or whiltst you are out , you could look around you for things to see and take not in your head or preferably a camera.
    I find lookings at nature, pictures, people full if imageries.
    It is one of the way to do it.
    A photographer takes pictures and this is the way he expresses imageries through the lense.
    lots of people get imageries from imagination.
    they justimagine words and expressions justcome out.
    so if you do find hard at times to draw or write from thinking something up, then just look around and I am sure you will find imageries everywhere you look.
     
  10. ScreamsfromtheCrematory
    Offline

    ScreamsfromtheCrematory Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2011
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    The problem with this might not actually be perceived lack of writing ability but well, the fact that... okay maybe this isn't really a problem at all, but a lot of "imagery" basically will depend on the reader. There's what you describe and detail and the image you craft within your own mind but then again, even if you make it your clearest, there is a high chance your audience might lean away, not necessarily completely off track, but rather... some noticeable modifications.

    The kind of things you do with imagery... well, aesthetic and symbolic things usually. For many overall, it's the atmosphere, feel, and "intended mental visual language" you attempt to convey. To actually write this... well there's no real set way, but there are always some helpful pointers.

    Don't always describe a setting and what is within it down to the exact details. It doesn't hurt sometimes and precision and "open-ended-ness" can both be used to varying effects. The former would be generally giving the reader the general form and appearance of the object in question but when it comes to actual function and purpose, this is where you start getting elusive or evasive. What I mean is that you hint at what it really is, describe its appearance in a way that seems to bear implications for its function, or in a way that implies its possible history. For example, let's say you want to describe an ancient plain littered with lots of jaggedly shaped objects. Let's say they're remnants of some cataclysmic conflict but the readers won't know that until further on.

    You're probably going to want to describe the sense of scale, the immensity, and vastness of it all, but also something perhaps more symbolic, especially concerning what the reader will likely initially think are just strange rock formations. They way they loom over the plain, funereal and austere like massive grave markers, and the strange jutting parts of their forms look like twisting wounds or limbs that once were ready to strike. You can go further and hint that something about them seemed alien to this location, that the moss and vegetation that covers them only highlights their foreign nature, and so on.

    That's just one particular way but it's always best to develop your own.
     
  11. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    the best [perhaps only] way to learn how to put your mental images into words is to see how the best writers do it... to learn how to be a good writer, one must first be a good and constant READer!
     
  12. picklzzz
    Offline

    picklzzz Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Florida
    I don't know how I am with it either, but I don't put too many details in to where the reader is bored silly and loses interest. I put in the most important imagery information. I also try to view the scene through the character and also go back and put in details that may be important to the story. Some authors use so many descriptors that are irrelevant that it disrupts the flow. So, how much is enough? Perhaps have some others read your work and ask them to describe the setting better. I got a few books on setting the scene, so perhaps there are some book or website resources that may inspire you to describe in a way you hadn't thought of. Also, maybe think of the setting of a scene and brainstorm several words or phrases as if you were describing it to a friend on the phone who was trying to imagine or find the place.
     
  13. TurtleWriter
    Offline

    TurtleWriter Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Sacramento Valley, CA
    Based upon some of the comments around here, I want to say the points I agree with first then my own humble opinion. The first comment I read that I liked is the description of a general area like your kitchen in 100 words or less. It's a difficult task and if you can more or less master it, then you're a large step ahead. Second, I saw a comment about reading good books to help with your imagery and I think this is more or less key. Keep this in mind, very few styles/objects/ideas are invented of pure air. All writing styles are influenced by one experience or another. (another example unrelated would be Microsoft). The third point is to immerse yourself in the details of your surrounding world such as the nature, and/or the bustle of a large city.

    Now, in my own humble opinion, I'm an introvert. How I've made it this far in public service jobs still boggles my mind. That being said, I immerse myself in my own little "worlds" as a form of escapism. I'm not a writer by trade, and that means my immersion could be in activities such as video games, anime, and/or book reading. On the other hand, I have found that when I describe a thought, from my immersion, I narrate my illustration as if I'm looking through a window at my "world." When I do so in writing, the reader tends to comprehend my feelings and imagery that I present to them.

    For example, I have a habit that my wife hates. I was having trouble conveying to her the reasoning why I partook in such a habit (specially because I knew how much my habit hurt her). Thus, I wrote a short story describing the process and emotions behind this addictive activity. When she read it, she came the closest to ever understanding my thoughts and emotions. I wrote in explicit images what happens in my mind when I encounter the chaos of this "world."

    My point, in sum, would be the mental immersion in the world you're trying to create. I find it's a practice of honing your mind's eye to take the images you've seen and created in your head; then creating a collage of new images from the existing images. Then you can begin the process of creating new images and scenes.

    (I'll give you an example right now in prose) I stand at the edge of this vast ocean I call the depth of my mind. As of right now, a calm breeze graces my face. The soft sound of the waves penetrate the depth of my soul. I sit down in the warm embrace of the sand. I take a deep breath, 1-2-3, then exhale. I look up into the ever blue sky and see some birds sore on winds of freedom. They chirp at me. I smile at them. Joy resides in the chorus of sounds at this serene beach. However, I decide to change this scene.

    A large space ship emerges from the depth of my ocean. I see the water dripping from the edges and some splashes on my face. I hear the roar of the massive engines propelling the space ship into the sky. I think this ship is as big as a mountain, but I'm not certain from this perspective. My body begins the levitate towards the sky. I can see the beach becoming smaller as I exit the atmosphere into space. I turn around as a fighter ship, about the size of a jet plane, flies past my face. I feel the heat from the small, yet intense, engines burn me. I duck my head as a missile chases after the fighter ship, just missing my head by inches. I "swim" into a more safe position to take in the chaos of this battle field. I see another gigantic ship firing massive lasers from its bow. The ship I saw rise from the ocean appears to be its target... etc etc.
     
  14. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    I try to find a picture that resembles the thing I want to picture, like a certain landscape or season changings someplace in the world, and look at it while writing. because like you I have difficulties writing from the pictures of my mind, they somehow seem to be a little blurry although I do have a picture in my head, therefor I google the picture instead and it usually works. i also think it's a good way of practising outside of the actual novel-work and I will try to do that more often myself. Take a detail-rich photo and describe everything you see.
     
  15. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,929
    Likes Received:
    5,461
    Have you ever tried imagining that you're explaining whatever you want to describe to a friend? Sometimes the relative formality of writing seems to occupy all of my brain, and I need to go to something informal and stupid-sounding. That may give me the image, and then I can translate that image into writing.

    For example, on the table where I'm writing is:

    "A vase. Really bright yellow. Fat on the bottom and really skinny on the top. You couldn't get more than a couple of flowers into it. You can see a little bit of light through the glass, but it's almost solid. It's a little silly-looking, but it's cheerful, you know? All round and fat, like it might roll over. It makes me think of a Weeble."

    I might convert that to:

    "A happy little vase, of barely translucent glass in bright circus yellow. It has a round belly leading to a narrow throat, making it a home for just one blossom."

    I don't actually like either of these, much. :) But I just wanted to demonstrate the transition from dumb-sounding casual words to something more formal that contains some of the same ideas.

    ChickenFreak
     
  16. agentkirb
    Offline

    agentkirb Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Houston
    There is a book I'm reading to help me get better at being descriptive about my scenes in my stories called "Write Great Fiction - Description & Setting" by Ron Rozelle. I haven't read the whole thing yet, but just reading the first chapter gives me a few pointers on writing better scenery. I think one of the ideas they talked about doing was if you find yourself in the position where you need to describe a scene... make a list of things in said scene and then maybe try to think of ways you would work the things on your list into your description.
     

Share This Page