Writing Tip: Give Emotions Strong Imagery

Photo 10How many of us write from those raw emotions we have stirring within us? The best therapy for some writers is letting those feelings bleed on paper. Love, anger, joy, sadness, and pain are just of the few many of us can relate to. We can explain them literally with simple words and most of the audience will understand. We can also enhance the meaning of those emotions by using strong images and make a poem a little more interesting.

Tulips - Sylvia PlathLove can make ones heart flutter or be torn apart. Depending on which you are feeling at the moment, give your heart the wings of a hummingbird, the way it beats a mile a minute when you think about the love of your life. Or compare it to a fault-line in the Earth, ripping further apart from the heart-ache.

Anger festers. One could describe it as a volcano ready to explode or a star on the verge of a super nova. Give anger a specific character as in runs through the veins. Perhaps it can be a million fire ants making your skin burn.

When we think of joy, we think of sunshine, balloons and confetti. But what if joy was a dried up sprout in between a concrete sidewalk that felt the first drop of rain in years? Or even a bird seeing it’s reflection in the mirror for the first time. Joy can be found in many unusual things.

Let’s not always make sadness about clouds hovering above or tears trickling down our face. Sadness can be that painted wall that never got finished or a rusted fence covered by thick brush. Think outside the box and try using some inanimate objects to compare those melancholic feelings.

The obvious is to parallel pain with darkness. Think of pain as the first leaf that falls in autumn that gets trampled on over and over again. That doll that got tossed aside in a garage sale could feel hurt it is no longer wanted. Pain is the sound of a chainsaw against a tree bark. Use a few of the other senses to imply the level of pain you would like to convey.

Give your audience a vivid description of those emotions that haunt you. Make them not only feel it and see it, but smell it, hear it and taste it too. Use those sensory handles to stimulate their minds.

Written by: Donna J. Sanders

Donna is a freelance writer and blogger in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of Ataraxia, Cardboard Signs, and Devour Me.

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Photo Credit: © Donna J. Sanders

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1 reply


  1. Writing Tip: Give Emotions Strong Imagery – TheRaven6825

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