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As human beings we’re very visually inclined—no other sense allows us to retain memories quite as intensely as our vision. The role of an image in any form of text is to allow the reader to build a connection with what is being communicated. The depth of the connection is solely dependent on the images’ effectiveness to take the content to a whole other level of understanding.
Image via Wild Flower.
An image can sum up an entire story. Whether it’s funny, horrifying, tragic, pensive, beautiful, or complex, the image wears on the readers’ emotions in a way that’ll keep them wanting more; and this can help with building your readership.
“Every now and then, one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.” ― Pablo Picasso
Image via Flickr by Woah Lindsay
Every good story will give just a little piece at a time to the reader to maintain their interest. In the same sense you can use an image to convey the same idea. Aim to make your reader think a little bit. Why’s the girl extending her hand? What’s that look on her face? Is she scared? Worried? Surprised?
Images have the ability to walk your reader through a story with very little textual input from you. However, the combination of skilled, lyrical writing paired with a great image is an essential instrument in the writer’s tool belt. Foreshadowing imagery is great for stories with a suspenseful undertone.
“The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.” ― Marcus Tullius Cicero
Image via Flickr by dcoolhassan
Adding a bit of complexity to an otherwise pretty simple thought is a great way of enthralling your reader. Almost acting as breadcrumbs throughout a piece of copy, images can lure your reader into a pensive state that will incite their interest and drive them to interact and ask questions.
This type of imagery is really effective for factual based stories or content that is driven mostly by stats and scientific ideas.
“She can paint a lovely picture, but this story has a twist. Her paintbrush is a razor, and her canvas is her wrist.” ― Amy Efaw, After
Image via Flickr by aurainsert
Fear can be a powerful tool for a writer, especially when your topic of discussion is meant to shock or enflame fear. Using an image that your reader can’t unsee, no matter how much they’d like to, creates a sense of memorability for your writing. Your audience will either be scared senseless and have no desire to return, or like most people, they just won’t be able to fight the temptation to see what will happen next.
This type of imagery works really well in shocking news or horror-based stories.
“Snake pulled out the digital camera and decided to play a joke on Otacon. He snapped a picture of the pinup, muttered, “Good,” and closed the door.” ― Raymond Benson, Metal Gear Solid 2: The Novel: Sons of Liberty
Image via Flickr by Mdf1281
Knee-slapping laughter goes a long way. As a writer not only do we communicate an idea, evoke thoughts, and inform, but we entertain as well. People love to laugh and be kept on their toes with humor. Whether it’s sarcastic, dry, dark, goofy, or plain old funny, an image that can illustrate that idea and add more value to your text is sure to keep your reader sifting through your posts for a quick laugh.
Humor works really well in instances of trending news that tend to be either well received, or a comedic writer’s fuel for poking a satire finger at it.
“Come, I tell you. You have chattered enough about corruption. Now you shall look on it face to face!” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Image via Flickr by By_robbiecarlisle
Controversy is perhaps one of the most sensitive features to include in a story. It’s no question that a controversial image will induce emotion, but exactly how much emotion? What type of emotion? Like in the image above, a reader can feel angry, threatened, offended, or passionate. Either way the pendulum swings, that reader is sure to voice their opinion or share their thoughts. This works really well when you’re writing hard news pieces or even political content.
“A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably.” ― Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
Image via Flickr by sarajh
An image plays such a great role in writing, and is the bread and butter of the final draft. Despite the played emotion, all images chosen for a specific piece of writing can be the difference between an audience and a virtually empty room. Including captivating images in your writing will enhance your readership and add a whole new sense of indulgence that your words alone cannot acquire.