Would this small paragraph in my short story be considered as imagery? (Rose is looking for a painting)

Rose and Mr. Howard stepped inside. There were cobwebs everywhere. Lots and lots of old furniture were everywhere. Torn sofas, shattered glass, and pieces of paper that looked like bills were scrambled everywhere, but no painting in sight.

  • I appreciate that you chose my answer! For reference, it's generally best practice to wait at least 24 hours before accepting an answer - this gives others a chance to add answers, possibly providing different insight! :) – Gwendolyn Jan 30 '19 at 23:22
  • Ok! I'll unflag your answer for now (not to be rude or anything) I'll wait for tomorrow to see if there are any other replies. :) Your answer was good though. :) – CatbusTotoroDustbunnies07 Jan 30 '19 at 23:24
  • Perfect - I don't take it personally ;) Glad you did like the answer though. And best of luck on your story! – Gwendolyn Jan 30 '19 at 23:27

Imagery is really important for grounding the reader - putting them in the scene with your characters. In this paragraph, you've started to do that, but I think you can take the imagery farther. As a reader, I want my feet firmly planted next to Rose while she's entering that house.

Here are some ideas and questions to ask that might help you get started:

  • Try and cover multiple senses. Don't say only what they see ... what do they feel, smell, hear? How would you describe how an old house smells? Can she hear mice, or is it dead silent?
  • Use figures of speech to describe the items they using similes or metaphors. What does the torn sofa look like? Do the scattered pieces of paper only make her think of bills, or could it be something else?
  • Think about the little things that only your character Rose would notice - does she notice the cobwebs first because she is very cleanly? Understanding a character also helps with the surrounding imagery and general immersion for the reader.

Remember: Writing takes a lot of practice! The best way to get more confident in your writing is to write, re-write, and write some more :)


It is but don’t stop there. As Gwendolyn mentioned, involve more senses. It creates the impression of being in the scene.

Good imagery is the 3D of literature and draws you into the fictional world, facilitating immersion.

Did the cobwebs caress her cheek as she passed through the doorway? Might there be a musty scent in the unused home? Does the light stream through the broken window, catching the dance of dust in the air? Do the crumpled bills rustle like autumn leaves as they enter the room?

Is Rose disappointed when she finds nothing? Is she hoping it will be valuable or is it a family heirloom and of little intrinsic value?

Imagine yourself there, be Rose and describe what you perceive.

It is a balance - create the scene and put us there, but don’t get bogged down in describing minor details and forget that she is looking for a painting.

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