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Painting with Words

‘Word pictures’ to engage your readers’ senses.

Writing a story is like directing a movie.

BUT, You do not get the pretty actors, the engrossing background score and perfect lighting to tell a story. We are limited to just WORDS. How do we use just words to get every sensory organ to taste a flavour of the story -

By employing ‘word pictures’

It is a writing technique that involves the practice of creating vivid and descriptive written images mostly used to engage the reader's senses and imagination. We need to write about what can be seen, heard, smelled, tasted or felt. We can either use one or more.

5 sensory emotions

“For a writer, evoking empathy in the reader is a crucial aspect while describing the scene.”

For example, instead of saying "The beach was beautiful,"

one might say, "The sun-kissed beach stretched out before us (seen), its golden sands warm beneath our bare feet (felt), and the salty (tasted) sea breeze (smelled) carried the distant laughter (heard) of children building sandcastles." to make the reader feel he’s right there, witnessing the scene.

We use this idea multiple times while writing our biographies. It helps us to take the reader right where the drama is. As example, few scenarios depicting different emotions of this are written below.

  1. When someone opens a surprise gift given by a loved one

  • their eyes brighten up with excitement, hesitant if it’s actually for them

  • a quick shake close to the ears to guess what it could be

  • unwrap the gift by tearing the ends of the tape with her teeth

  • the whiff of excitement of the final reveal of the gift is visible (seen) in their eyes

  • a warm, grateful hug to the thoughtful gift-giver

2. When someone is going through a mental breakdown

  • her hands were shaking, and she felt like she was losing her mind.

  • the room, which used to be a safe place once, now felt confusing and scary

  • her eyes were swollen and red. One could see how hurt she was

  • she could hear her heart beating at an unusually high rate. everything around her looked strange, like a bad dream.

  • breathing felt like a colossal task, she felt like she was choking on smoke

  • she could not forget the heartburn caused due to sudden acid reflux

3. When a 50 year old finishes a trek for the first time in their life

  • after five decades, he conquered his first trek

  • the air was crisp, and the scent of pine filled his lungs

  • he marvelled at the rugged beauty of the wilderness around him

  • the weight of his backpack was a badge of determination

  • the trail was challenging, but each obstacle was a small victory

  • his heart pounded with a mix of excitement and exhaustion

We hope these super quick examples have been helpful in illustrating the power of "word pictures" in your writing.

Write a situation - write all the senses - use at least 2 ‘word picture sentences’ to describe the scene.

Happy writing!

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