Using Vivid Imagery in Writing

Vivid imagery in writing paints a picture in the reader’s mind. It makes writing interesting to read as the words appeal to the senses. So, what can you do to use more vivid imagery in your next narrative? Try adding these 5 things to your writing:

Sensory Details

Sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. These five senses help the reader imagine your writing, making your words come to life. As you write, think about what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Using this imagery in writing helps the reader put him or herself in your shoes.

For example, you could say “The boy rode his bike down the road.” However, it would be better to say “The sandy-haired toddler rode his blue, plastic tricycle down the dirt road.” This sentence paints a better picture of the scene for the reader.


A metaphor compares two seemingly unrelated things, saying that something “is” something else. Some examples of metaphors that you may have heard include:

  • Life is a highway.
  • Time is money.
  • Her mind is a steel trap.
  • They are two peas in a pod.

You can create your own metaphors in your writing. These comparisons will force your reader to think about what you mean, and give them a greater understanding of what you’re talking about.


A simile is like a metaphor, but it compares two things using the word “like” or “as.”

Snow blanketing landscape as an example of imagery in writing-magoosh

Photo by Printeboek

For example:

  • The snow is like a white blanket on the forest ground.
  • Her long hair flowed as a golden river.
  • The wind was as fast as a train.

Could you picture these examples? Can you see the blanket of snow or the flowing hair? These comparisons can effectively paint a picture, describing the scene using figurative language.


Hyperbole uses exaggerations or overstatements. They are not meant to be taken literally. However, these exaggerations show the reader how strongly the speaker feels about something. For example:

  • I am so hungry I could eat a horse.
  • I’ve told you a thousand times.
  • He was as skinny as a toothpick.
  • She’s older than the hills.


Personification relies on giving human characteristics to something nonhuman. The statement may not actually be happening, but it helps paint the picture. You could say:

  • Lightning danced across the sky.
  • Wind howled through the cavern.
  • The tree begged for water.
  • Time flies.

Vivid imagery in writing takes time and thought in order to come up with the right way to express your ideas. However, when done correctly, figurative language will describe your ideas in a way that will make your words jump off the page and create a lifelike picture in your reader’s mind.

P.S. Become a better writer. Find out more here.

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