Archive for Imagery

Visual Images Add Clarity in Your Writing – and They’re Fun!

visual images

My face is getting smaller and smaller

A quote in a recent New York Times article was the inspiration for this post. I felt the pain of a Princeton professor who rues the slow demise of humanities majors. According to the Times, many distinguished humanities professors feel their status deflating.

Using an analogy, Anthony Grafton, a Princeton history professor, said he sometimes feels “like a newspaper comic strip character whose face is getting smaller and smaller.” Can’t you just visualize it?

Business writing can be awfully dull, especially when it’s a topic that is unfamiliar to the reader. Haven’t your eyes ever glazed over when you’ve been trying to make sense of what something means?

That’s why visual images in the form of analogies and metaphors are so powerful in conveying your intentions. Read More→

Analogies and Metaphors Paint Images for Readers

[tweetmeme]“Buzz is already taking a chunk out of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media services. That’ll only grow as brands and advertisers better understand what they can do with Buzz and its millions of users. Buzz is equivalent to throwing a giant super magnet into a room filled with nails.Like throwing a giant super magnet into a room filled with nails

I don’t know about Buzz challenging its rivals, but this paragraph is a lively example of how analogies and metaphors enrich our writing and paint images for our readers.  Buzz is like a giant super magnet attracting new users – a powerful visual image.

Writers often confuse analogies and metaphors.  In a story on the CBS News Opinion page “Political Analogies Are Like Toothbrushes,” the headline is an analogy comparing two dissimilar things to clarify a point or create an image. Something is like something else. Then throughout the article the writer mistakes analogies for metaphors in which one object becomes another object, i.e., “Obama is Abraham Lincoln in 1860.”

This is probably nitpicking, because my point is that analogies and metaphors can enhance our writing.

I decided to re-read a few of my past blog posts to see how I might improve them with an analogy or metaphor.  Here’s one that I think could be better (italicized words added):  “This is a golden opportunity for companies to find out what customers are looking for and to respond to their needs directly one-to-one, like a good mother responds to her child’s need for a hug.”

Here’s another blog about the importance of facial cues in business:  “We’ve all had the experience of talking to someone who gives us absolutely no facial or verbal cues.  It’s like trying to get a response from General Lee’s image on Stone Mountain.”

A writer is a like a painter, using imagery to entertain, provoke and educate with the fervent hope of not being a bore.  Your thoughts, good readers?