Whether writing advertising copy, novels, articles, essays, or poems, it is essential to paint word pictures by wringing the last drop of creative juice from the sponge of your brain. Adjectives, verbs and adverbs make butterflies of less-than-colorful nouns and verbs. Yet, apply a too-heavy coat of description and the reader’s mind will never take flight. As in mixing colors, precision coaxes the loveliest of hues to appear; in writing, excessive verbiage results in a muddy mess.
When attaching words to paper, detailing includes artfully incorporating the senses. A successful author will enable the audience to taste the coolness of a tasteless snowflake, to feel the protagonist’s fever, to smell the stench of the cat lady’s condemned dwelling. That author will allow the reader to see and hear like the miraculously healed.
Successful authors also engage their audience through dialogue. Alongside description and sensory prompts, dialogue enhances imagery. Through conversation among characters, nuances are heightened and plots thickened. Dialect and tone can identify a villain – or tease the reader into mistakenly labeling an innocent character as the villain. Such ploys add depth to word pictures, and perpetuate the reader’s interest.
One of my successful word illustrations likened various types of Bible study to the many methods of eating a creme-filled cookie. Another used description and sensory prompts to form a favorite acrostic poem about my love for the Arizona desert. Touching dialog contributed to an award-winning essay.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but successful authors do not need an abundance of words to successfully create a word picture. They need only the right words.
Rebecca MacKenzie is a freelance author based in Wisconsin. Her work has been purchased by an eclectic mix of publications, including writing, parenting, teaching and Christian magazines. An award winning essayist, Rebecca’s poetry and short stories have been included in anthologies and literary journals. A seminary graduate (Trinity International University, Chicago, IL – MAR), Rebecca has authored Christian Studies curricula as well.