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Imagery through Writing

Updated: Mar 6, 2019

One challenge often faced by authors, especially those new to writing on a larger scale, is how to describe a person, place, or situation through words. There are basic components to each category that can help reduce the quantity of words spent on their description. It is an excellent practice to find the least amount of words necessary to portray for the reader the author’s intent. A positive strategy for writers is to include a greater number of adjectives used for the story’s key components. It is greatly encouraged to provide an immersive presentation, but to also curtail an excess of words when including inane details that do not support or directly impact your characters and their role(s) within the plot. Giving too much detail on mundane items within your story can often diminish the impact of your key points. We have witnessed many drafts that include detailed accounting of the type and origin of coffee or tea, which is something that excites the author, offering little value to the story or plot. This is not to suggest that such details are not important, but to encourage authors to pare down where possible to ensure the reader is not overwhelmed with too great a level of detail which is not inherent to the book they are writing. It is also important to understand your intended audience, providing a language that is not too challenging or unrelatable. A spy novel that uses two paragraphs describing the unusual presence of potted plants not native to the location of an event without directly pertaining to a component of the story such as poisons or pigments used by a character, is an example of unnecessary or too lengthy which can draw the reader away from the important elements in your plot.

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