Great writing allows us to enter the world it unfolds before us through the use of images and metaphors. Skilled writers understand the balance of specific, detailed images and sketched images that allow the readers to supply their own details.
Part 1 Open a favorite piece of prose to any page. Circle all of the images on the page. Do the same thing with a page of text from another writer.
How many specific images does the writer offer in proportion to the other words on the page? Which details does the author define? Which does he or she leave the reader to imagine? Do the circled images themselves tell a story?
Jot down five images from each piece of writing. Compare the two lists of images. What do the images have in common? What about the images links them to the author's style or the tone of the work?
Part 2 Look around the room or the place where you are sitting. Jot down a list of ten images. Review the list and see what you can do to make them more concrete. How will these images help you hold on to this specific moment years from now?
Part 3 Construct a scene in which you use at least seven of the ten images from your list. You can write the scene in fiction or non-fiction, whatever you like. Let yourself run free.
Circle all of the images in the scene. What do you notice about the images in your scene compared to the examples from the two other writers you selected?
As you work on your regular writing projects, try this exercise again. Circle all of the images on a page. Do they support the tone of the work? Do the images themselves tell a story?