Quotes / Writing Advice / Writing Inspiration

imagery tips direct from The King

I just read the most eye-opening essay (no pun intended) by Stephen King, called ‘Imagery and the Third Eye’.

I like to think of imagery as one of my better qualities as a writer. Plot is definitely the worst. So when I saw this essay about all about images and how to handle them in a story, I jumped on it like a fox to a rabbit: there was hunger in my eyes and something amazing within in my grasp.

My first thought was ‘this is a long article’ – it’s really not. I’m just lazy. I even ended up jotting down notes, that’s how inspiring and educational it was. Stephen King, you literary master, you’re the coolest 65 year old in the business. Without a doubt.

You can read the whole essay here – I seriously recommend it. If you’re late for work or the cat is meowing at you, here are some of the important points I took down in my notebook:

  • “Novels are more than imagery… but it is the imagery that makes the book ‘stand out’ somehow; to come alive; to glow with its own light.”
  • “Imagery does not occur on the writer’s page; it occurs in the reader’s mind.”
  • “The reader has his or her own third eye; the job of the writer is only to provide a spectacle for it.”
  • “Leave in the details that impress you most strongly; leave in the details you see the most clearly; leave everything else out.”
  • “The idea of imagery is not to set the picture by giving everything… but to give enough to suggest a texture and a feel.”
  • “Do not insult your reader’s interior vision, and see everything before you write it.”
  • “The writer’s greatest pleasure is in seeing, and seeing well.”

There are also a bunch of other essays and thoughts from more writers here. Worth a look, if not a few pages of note-taking.


4 thoughts on “imagery tips direct from The King

      • He does indeed. Yes, I read it way back when it was first published. I think I could benefit from reading it again 🙂

        BTW – read the article. Really enjoyed it and found it helpful.

      • I love what he says about not insulting your readers eye. I often find that I don’t look at things from the reader’s perspective, and some things that come out in my writing can put the reader off. I’m slowly figuring it out, I think.

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