Vivid language that strikes at a donor’s senses goes a lot further than run-of-the-mill cliches.
You may have read an earlier blog entry about the power of storytelling to light up listener’s brains. However, there was one aspect that I didn’t delve into—the language of storytelling.
To be truly memorable and brain-stimulating, your language must touch the senses of your readers or listeners. Now is not the time to be logical—it’s time to smell, see, hear, taste, and feel!
According to this write-up in the New York Times, “metaphors like ‘The singer had a velvet voice’ and ‘He had leathery hands’ roused the sensory cortex, while phrases matched for meaning, like ‘The singer had a pleasing voice’ and ‘He had strong hands,’ did not.”
What does this mean for you? Consider the language you use when writing and consider how you can change it up to be more illustrative. Did the kids in your after school program complete their homework while eating a nutritionally-balanced snack, or was the room filled with the sound of crunching carrots and pencils scratching on paper as the kids filled out their homework assignments while eating their snacks?
There’s a line between being evoking sensations and being ridiculously elaborate. But take a look at your stories and see where you can add detail that is not simply logical, but evocative.