Thursday, February 7, 2013


Imagery is a literary device used to help the audience see what the author sees. I'm talking about it today because so much of this week's review book, Perfume, relies on author Patrick Suskind's ability to describe sensory experiences.

Imagery can be accomplished in several ways. The easiest way is the adept use of adjectives. Adjectives are the words that modify nouns: green; loud; beautiful; salty; fluffy.

Pretend you're writing a scene set in the desert valley pictured above. What kind of adjectives could you use to describe it? Dry, probably. Arid, even. Beautiful, if it's your kind of place. It's certainly very orange. Desolate and lonely come to mind. You could also describe the sky: bright, clear, open, large.

Another path to imagery is the use of figurative language, like similes and metaphors. A simile is a comparison using the words "like" or "as."

"Reading this blog is as awesome as winning the lottery."
"Cassy and Alex are like rock stars."

There are similes because two unlike things are being compared to make a point. Unfortunately, reading Review Me Twice is not very much like winning the lottery, other than the fact that they are both awesome. And despite what I may think while singing with the radio in my car, I am not a rock star, but I have some qualities in common with rock stars (or at least, I like to think I do).
Me and Cassy... but only figuratively.

Then you have metaphors. Those are like similes without the "like" or "as."
"Reading this book was a roller coaster."

The book didn't literally put me on a roller coaster, although how cool would it be if that were possible? This figuratively means that the book had a lot of ups and downs (either in tone, emotional response, or quality).

Not pictured: Reading.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but when you're working in the opposite direction, you have to try to use less than a thousand words to describe the picture in your head, and if you're really good, you can include how it smells, tastes, sounds, and feels at the same time.


  1. Let me guess, Alex is the little girl with the guitar and Cassy is the one with the microphone?

    1. I actually got really excited when that image came up for "rock stars" because they actually do look like little versions of us, a little.

    2. Visually, I would be the singer (mainly because she's taller and blond.) But I think that if Alex and I ever started a band, she would sing (due to her rockin' car vocals) and I would play guitar (due to my intense dance moves.)

  2. Cool. Can I be your stage manager? I have no musical ability but I think it would be cool to be a part of something like that.