Making your readers see something is the skill that you have to develop to become a good writer. When you can use words that make you readers see somebody doing something. We live in a visual culture, surrounded by television videos, movies, DVDs and pictures on the Internet. We expect visual reinforcement of messages and you can give your readers that reinforcement by using language to create images. This excerpt from the model paper we’re using in this book shows how it can be done. The passage describes a picture in such vivid detail the reader can almost see it.
• Gentileschi portrays herself dramatically in her self – portrait which she titled La Pittura […] it shows her as a handsome, buxom woman with the edge of a creamy buxom revealed above the top of a lace – trimmed silk gown. She is totally engrossed in her work, lips slightly apart and strands of dark hair curling at her temples. She radiates vitality and everything in the painting reveals her talent the warm flesh tones, the expressive eyes, the painting reveals her talent – the warm flesh tones, the expressive eyes, the details of the delicate lace trim, the lights and shadows that highlight the sheen of the fabric and the delicate gold chain at her neck.
Here is an example from a professional writer; notice how she dramatizer the horror of sailor’ lives aboard eighteenth century ships by giving you images.
Long voyages waxed longer for lack [of knowledge] about longitude and the extra time at sea condemned sailors to the dread disease of scurvy. The oceangoing diet of the day, devoid of fresh fruits and Vegetables, deprived them of vitamin C and their bodies’ connective tissues deteriorated as a result. Their blood vessels leaked making the men look bruised all over even in the absence of injury. When they were injured, their wounds failed to heal. Their legs swelled […] their gums bled too, as their teeth loosened. They gasped for breath, struggled against debilitating weakness and when the blood vessels around their brains ruptured, they died. (Danva Sobel : Longitude
Other Pages in This Section :
Illustrating General Statements with Specific Examples
Putting People in Your Writing
Choosing Concrete Words
Adding Metaphors for Clarity