Use Imagination and Trigger Emotions

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Writers need to develop deep imagery. It doesn't matter if it's a real story or a fictional one; it's the authors' duty to induce reactions from the reader.

Use Imagination—Take a deep breath and read the following paragraph. See if your mind reacts to the stimulus.

It's a hot summer day. You pull a lemon from the fridge. You're holding it in your hand. Look at the outside; run your thumb over it's yellow waxy skin, notice the tiny green bits. Feel how cold it is in your hand. Raise it to your nose and smell it. Mmm. Press it gently and notice the weight of the lemon in the palm of your hand. Pick up a knife and cut it in half. Hear the juices, feel the little spray and notice the smell as it increases. Bite deeply into the lemon and allow the juice to swirl around in your mouth. Did your mouth react?

Trigger Emotion

Emotions are the single most powerful force of persuasion. Without emotion, words are dull, lifeless and lack action. Think of some words that cause an instant reaction. The most popular emotion that advertisers use is sex or sex appeal. The brain sees in images, therefore it's imperative that the storyteller writes in such a way that the brain can bring up the images to go with the words. If I say, "I'm on a horse." An instant image comes to mind.

Let's try another. You're lying on the beach, the sun is perfectly warm, you feel the heat, it's getting hotter, and a bead of sweat drips from around your eye, and you wipe it off. A soft breeze is caressing your skin; it helps to cool your body and evaporates some of the sweat. The sea gulls squawk somewhere in the distance and the smell of the ocean tickles your nose. The spray of the ocean leaves a light mist over your entire body. You feel deliciously tired, relaxed. Someone is walking toward you. His head is tilted a bit; he's tall, but not lanky. The wind sifts through his disheveled mass of light brown hair. His bluish gray eyes seek your soul. He has an earnest look on his face and you wonder what he's thinking about; you hope that whatever it is, you're there. The look implies deep thought, his expressive smile flashes at you and when he finally speaks, his British accent warms your heart.

As writers, we're taught to tighten our work and to cut adjectives and adverbs, but do we take it too far? We need to practice expressing.

Share one or two words that evoke deep feelings. They could represent fear, joy, love, hate, anger or any other emotion that evokes or provokes you.

People Magazine


Cher'ley said...

My mouth puckers every time I look at those lemons.

Cher'ley said...

A lot of people read this and I got some really great comments on facebook about it, but they can't leave a comment on here. Some ladies want to be on that beach. Also I got a variety of answers on what comes to mind when certain words are said.

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