Painting pictures with your words

Words are the tools of writers and writers are artists as I believe, then sentences can be the brushstrokes that paint a picture. Finding the special words that help the reader visualize all you say is the answer to good writing.

When you think of a special book you loved something in it made you feel and something helped you relate to the theme or message. Words of course are responsible but, especially those that help you to see what you are reading.

If you can see it, no matter how crazy the idea, you will give it some credence. You find it much easier to believe what you see so those words that paint the scene enable you to completely take it in. You can smell the newly mown grass, you can feel the pebbles under bare feet and you can see the entire place where these people relay the story.

When you visualize her gown, you must have word details. Is it silk, or velvet, gauzy stuff or satin? Does it follow her shape and compliment every curve or is it one of those pieces of attire meant to cover up and not even suggest a woman’s shape? Is it there to romanticize the moment, seduce the most eligible male, or help her remain cool and aloof? Does her garment serve to protect her as some broken, teen girls use the over-sized, dark clothing to hide any sense of sexuality and keep them safe that way?

Painting word pictures when introducing characters is vital if the reader is to relate at all to the character, to even know who they are and what they look like. The reader’s interpretation may differ slightly from what you intend but, it still is their starting point before the reader’s imagination completes the photo. How well you paint that picture is how close the reader will see the person you wished them to envision. If they recognize the same person as you have written, that should be a coup for the writer.

Artists paint in bold strokes or sometimes it is a meld of colors arranged in ways that express a feeling more than a picture. Writers can do the same thing. They can ‘state a picture’ boldly and simply with strong exact words or add nuances to the colors and shapes by many words. Softening and highlighting, creating the chiaroscuro the balance and contrast of dark and light are all part of an artist’s creating process. Why can’t it be with a writer as well?

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