How to Add Details that Give A Visual Picture – Little Details Often Forgotten

740534_83412309Monday my kids ventured out into a winter wonderland of powder white with their snow pants, sleds, and clumpy boots. The delight of the first snow of the year doesn’t diminish until somewhere in February when it is so cold the weather man starts giving forecasts from inside to avoid frostbite.

Those of you who have lived in colder places with snowfall can probably picture the scene I just mentioned without much imagination. It is the rhythm of winter in snowbound states and countries around the globe.

Have you weaved these same details into your novel?

There are just some details that make a story come to life without us even realizing it. Those same details are the ones we often forget. During some of my first workshops with Susan May Warren and My Book Therapy I learned just how often I forgot some of the important details that add a more vivid picture in your scenes. Here are a few:

*Time of day and year

*weather / temperature

*location including sensory details


How do you make that come alive on the page?

LisaJordan2x3HeadshotI have the most amazing critique buddy, Lisa Jordan. Her visual imagery in her most recent novel Lakeside Family is beautiful. The richness draws a reader into the story as if they were there with the character.

Here is a clip from her last book that she graciously allowed me to share with you:

Josie had spent the last ten years trying to forget Nicholas Brennan existed. And now she needed him

more than ever.

Lakeside Family

Hard to believe after all this time he worked less than two hours from where she lived.

She climbed out of her car, slammed the door and pulled her wool coat tighter. Flipping up the collar to ward off the chill slithering down her spine, Josie slid her purse over her shoulder and trudged through the slushy parking lot toward Twain Hall. The aged brick building, which housed the English department, crested a small knoll with a familiarity to the campus as worn leather patches on a tweed blazer.

Freezing rain stung her cheeks as she waited at the corner for a snow plow to lumber past, leaving a trail of salt on the icy blacktop.

Can you imagine the scene and feel the cold as if you were there with Josie?

This is how to weave it beautifully. Let’s break it down a bit. 

*Time of day and year- probably during the workday or soon after if a professor is at the college. Time of year is winter.

*weather / temperature – Cold, snow, snow plow, mittens, freezing rain

*location including sensory details- Twain Hall (LOVE THE Description here),

*mood – words like trudged, stung, chill, pulled on her wool coat tighter, lumbered past, etc.

Now it is your turn. Turn this sentence into a visual image:

Jennifer never saw it coming, but the train wreck hit her straight between the eyes and it was only morning.


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

2 thoughts on “How to Add Details that Give A Visual Picture – Little Details Often Forgotten

  1. I’ll have to think on this and get back to you as soon as I get my 2K for the day!

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