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Rated: E · Editorial · Horror/Scary · #2224692
Food for thought
Writing In Images

As authors, we turn written words into images in reader's minds.

I call writers word painters because it's our job as a writer whether fiction or non-fiction to paint a picture for the reader. And the better picture you paint, the more the reader is going to get out of your work.

Writing is like watching a movie except it's little black squiggles on the page that have the power to reach another human being’s mind and light it up with imagery just as vivid as anything that person might experience in the real world.

In reading, all you see are words on paper. But think about one of your favorite books. The visual memory that returns to you is not one of black words on white paper, is it? What you see are images—recalled snapshots of an experience that, in your mind’s eye, looks almost as real as memories of your actual life. That is the marvelous power of written fiction.

As readers, we know this instinctively. But as writers, we can sometimes get so lost in the technical minutiae of the art form that we forget fiction’s visceral impact. To readers, a story is light and color, sensation and emotion. To writers, fiction is often words. Ideas. Themes. Plot. Structure. Scenes.

Although all those things are crucial to a solid story, they are ultimately just the framework for a reader’s sensory experience of your work. This is why it’s so important for writers to think visually when writing.

Writing in images is more than just telling a story. You're directing a movie on a plain piece of paper. When I write I imagine a scene. You've got to think what it would look like on the silver screen. It has to feel like a brick being thrown through your window. It has to be get in your face horror. Then when you write a scare pop-out, your reader feels it. Plus, when you write like your watching a movie it's easier to edit the scenes later.

The moments are what come to mind when I think about the books I like best—moments that stick in my mind as pictures. When you’re deep into reading a book that you’re very fond of, the images pass through your mind and leave a permanent impression. I don’t tend to remember the ideas as strongly. For me, a novel’s conceptual framework generally takes a backseat to the images that tell the story. Ultimately, these images are more important and enduring than what the writer believes.

People are afraid of change, chaos, disruption, outsiders. So your story can be about any small town America where something inexplicable happens. Your characters are just like you and me. How will they react? What will they do? Anytime you can throw a monkey-wrench into normal life, you're creating horror.

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