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Use Your Visual And Emotional Imagination As You Write
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I've never been a huge fiction fan, so I had never heard of Vladimir Nabakov until today. Yet what I read of his novel writing technique resonates completely with my approach to writing non-fiction. You need to think in images.
I believe you also have to think in emotions. Images aren't enough. They only deal with inanimate objects and their ability to create environment. Emotions reveal the reaction to those objects.
Visual and Emotional Imagination - Key to Avoiding Dull Reading
A dull narrative engages only those who know and love you. When you take the time to create an image of the scene in your mind, you have the tool you need to bring your story to life. Visual images precede the creation of a vivid story. Add the component of emotional images as well, and the potential of your story rises.
I've had many clients approach me with their life story. I'm always interested, just because I find people's stories fascinating. Yet, I've recognized immediately that the narrative voice has to go. Dialog and action are essential for moving the story forward. I'm always attaching comments to their files--things like, "What kind of chair was it?" "What song was playing in the background?" "How did that make you feel?"
Without even realizing it, I've been asking my clients to visualize the scene and to feel it again so the reader can see and feel it, too.
You may be afraid of too many details. It's true a story can bog down in the details. Yet, too few details strip a story of it's vitality. You must give your reader visual details. When appropriate, reveal emotional details. Put your reader there, seeing and feeling the pulse of being a participant.
Using Visual and Emotional Imagination in Non-Fiction Writing
This technique works just as well for non-fiction as it does for creating fictional works. For example, if you're trying to show how a certain management technique works, use your visual and emotional imagination to create true-to-life descriptions of the technique in use. In this way, you aren't limited to scenarios you've experienced. Even if you are using real scenarios, revisiting them from a visual and emotional perspective will help you bring life into the telling.
If you are telling your story, you may find it easiest to start out with narration because it requires less of an emotional investment. It's easier to retain distance from the painful elements writing this way. Yet the point comes when you must open your visual and emotional imagination. You must revisit your story from your heart. If you don't, readers won't connect with it.
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