Descriptive Writing with Imagery

This video is a bit different– it’s an example of one of the activities I use with my creative writing students to help them build their descriptive writing skills. I’ve learned similar techniques in writing courses and put my own sort of spin on it over the years. The technique involves dividing a paper into four quadrants: one for nouns, one for verbs, one for phrases/memories you associate with the item/momento, and one for adjectives and adverbs. Below is my final result, the poem I created from this activity using the starting point “Ice”. You can probably see a bit of the ice fishing memory I mentioned along with many of the nouns and verbs I thought of in the free association part of the activity.


Pull the corked end of the pole from its burrowed home in the closet,

dragging winter’s memories like snow-laden boughs

with line, rod, and fingerless winter mittens.

Imagine the moans of shifting ice atop the lake,

blowing hot air from lips onto frozen fingertips,

stomping booted feet in place.

See the field of white on white; hear the snap of rigged orange flags

and the crisp-crunch of rushed feet on ice;

feel the slick grip of icicled hands on thin fishing line.

We’ll sleep well tonight with winter’s kiss

 on our flesh and in our bones.

We’ll sleep well after fish fries and hot chocolate,

tunneled into flannel under long dark skies.

4 thoughts on “Descriptive Writing with Imagery

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