Monday, January 16, 2017

Incorporating More Imagery

Hi! My name is Chris Bedell. I’m a YA writer and am thankful for the opportunity to be a blog contributor for YAtopia.

Thinking about new beginnings is inevitable because it’s January. The concept ultimately applies to my writing. I’ve been using a new approach when writing by trying to include the sensory details I want in a chapter in my outline. Doing so has proved beneficial since sensory details are easy to overlook in writing.

But that’s because a misconception can sometimes exist since they might seem impossible to include. Sensory details don’t have to be some super complicated thing, though. For instance, writing, “the wind whistled in the background,” “an owl hooted,” “streaks of sunlight snuck into the house, waking me up,” “the cold air nipped my face,” “steam seeped out of the teakettle after it started howling,” and “the waxiness of the full moon glowed in the night sky, providing a little extra light” are all examples of varying degrees of sensory details. And I’m sure I could come up with more sensory details if I gave the point further consideration.

However, my point remains clear. Writers shouldn’t fear evocative writing because it shouldn’t be synonymous with boring. It’s possible for something to be both well-written and entertaining. Incorporating imagery/description and showing the five senses enriches writing by making it come alive on the page.

The real problem is the writing cliché, “show, don’t tell.” Writers are too often bombarded with the expression. It’s an unfair generalization despite having merit. The problem is the mantra doesn’t go deep enough (in addition to how absolutes can sometimes be troubling) because some people might not understand what it means. All people have to do is think about what their characters see, taste, smell, hear, touch in each scene. That’s it. There’s no elaborate secret to descriptive writing-even if it feels like there is. Because trust me. I used to think there was some sort of secret to having evocative writing. But nope. That isn’t the case.

Giving imagery prior thought also makes it less daunting, which is a good thing. Don’t get me wrong. Outlining isn’t for everyone, but it helps my writing by grounding it. Because I’ve been a fan of general plot outlines even before I started attempting to add the sensory detail notes in my outlines.

So, to all my fellow writers out there, don’t be afraid about trying to add more imagery to your writing. Because it really isn’t as scary as it seems.

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