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A Fiction-Writer Changes Style with Image-Words Article About Writing Better

William H. Coles

What if the writer can, with words, create images in a reader’s mind that primarily stimulate setting and character in a fiction story. It’s a matter of choice, imagination, purpose, and style, and very individual. Using basic-story information of plot momentum, let's augment basic story action-information with setting and characterization with authorial style changes as examples.

They went to the birthday party of a man. Is it appropriate to develop setting and character in scene or narrative when the plot purpose is to simply move characters to a party? Will it inhibit or captivate a reader’s interest? Consider these examples.

Examples of style change with use of imagery.

1) BASIC DETAIL with IMAGES embossing SETTING.

The locomotive with colorful cars behind followed the track that snaked through the valley. The steam of the locomotive reddened the face of the engineer as he leaned out the window. He wondered, as the clouds gathered, if the printed banners with the czar’s name flapping above the red, green and white decorations so carefully applied on the cars behind by the birthday celebrants, would be dampened, maybe even destroyed, by rain. He gripped the waist-high metal lever jutting up through a slit in the floor and shoved it forward. The locomotive strained ahead tilting to the left when it reached the first turn.

2) BASIC PLOT information but DIFFERENT IMAGES. A different fiction-prose style.

The packed cable car left Fisherman’s wharf with a bell clang and a screech of steel on steel. Most of my fellow students had some colorfully wrapped birthday gift to give to Mr. Faraday. I teetered on an outer step of the car holding a hand rail while being jostled between a muscular middle-aged man in a skin-tight cyclist suit and aerodynamically sleek helmet and a reeking, unshaven, wrinkled old man in a torn, too-big, woolen overcoat.  The cable car nosed down after we turned onto Powell and we shifted our weight to remain as close to upright as possible.  Without warning, rain pelted my face, and I knew by the squishy feel of the rolled white-paper banner that I had painted with purple-ink birthday greetings was ruined.

3) The above image-detail may be too much and exaggerated for some stories, an unacceptable style. Here using same plot basic information, people going to a party, is the same story development WITHOUT IMAGERY that emphasizes characterization.

All the students were crowded into the bus. We silently resented the trip to our professor’s pretentious and unwelcoming mansion for his birthday celebration to pronounce our fallacious– but demanded–admiration for him. When we arrived, dense rain fell us as we stepped from the bus and the celebration banner I had painted was ruined and I threw it under the bus, happy not to have to exude feigned respect.

Take Away.

With careful thought and considered judgement, images in a fiction-writer’s story can delineate style, build characters, and stimulate setting visualization. But it may be easy to overdo in some styles to the detriment of story momentum and loss of reader engagement.

EXAMPLE STORIES:
Stories that use images to stimulate setting visualization and enhance characterization.
Speaking of the Dead
The Miracle of Madame Villard

FREE: READ, LISTEN, OR DOWNLOAD PDF OR MP3 ONLINE here:
https://www.storyinliteraryfiction.com/original-stories-william-h-coles/speaking-of-the-dead/
https://www.storyinliteraryfiction.com/original-stories-william-h-coles/the-miracle-of-madame-villard/

PODCASTS

Speaking of the Dead
https://storyinfictionpodcast.com/speaking-of-the-dead-3/
The Miracle of Madame Villard
https://storyinfictionpodcast.com/madame-villard-9/

Speaking Of The Dead by William H. Coles

Speaking of the Dead, a short story by William H. Coles
Illustration by Betty Harper

The Miracle of Madame Villard

The Miracle of Madame Villard

The Miracle of Madame Villard, a short story by William H. Coles
Illustration by Peter Healy

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