Writing Tip: Concrete Words and Images

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We have previously discussed that poetry is about feelings and the senses. Therefore, your readers need to be presented with images and things that are concrete: words that are specific. A concrete word is a noun. It describes something that you can experience with the senses, such as something you can see (smoke), something you can hear (a cry) or something you can touch (skin). They help us to explain something to someone else.

Concrete words are useful in poetry (and other forms of writing) because they provide readers with an example of something that they can understand. Although we might associate different memories with them, they are things that everyone has experienced (or will experience). This means that when you create a metaphor, you can present a stronger image to the reader than if you use abstract words to describe something.

Abstract words and words that name qualities. They do not have a physical form, but describe ideas or concepts and are not available to our senses. Examples are beauty, lies and democracy. These are not things that we can reach out and touch. They are things that mean different things to different people and can change meaning over time (whereas concrete words, such as ‘table’, do not tend to change meaning).

Your poetry may be about abstract topics. You may wish to discuss some moral lesson or philosophy. You may want to write about a feeling you have or your favorite memory. Describing these things using concrete imagery can make them clearer for your readers. It will allow you to create more powerful descriptions of things that we cannot see, touch, taste, hear or smell, and introduce your readers to how you view the concept you have chosen to write about.

Written by: Laura Clark

* Laura is a 23 year old English woman with a history degree residing in the UK. She has been writing for many years and enjoys writing horror/fantasy stories, as well as poetry. You can view her work at: https://inspiredstoriesandpoems.wordpress.com/



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Photo Credit: © Donna J. Sanders

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