“I wish I could write like you, but I don’t have any imagination.” I listened to this familiar comment and shook my head.
“When you cross the road, do you remember to look both ways?”
She looked baffled. “Of course.”
If she didn’t have any imagination, she surely wouldn’t check the road for other cars? She does this because she imagines what could happen if she didn’t.
I did a search of a number of online dictionaries for a definitionon of the word, “Imagination” so I could quote it for you and found something interesting. They all used the idential wording!
1. the formation of a mental image of something that is not perceived as real and is not present to the senses
2. the ability to form mental images of things or events
3. the ability to deal resourcefully with unusual problems
Hmm. This tells me two things.
1. It’s probably a good definition.
2. The writers of the dictionaries are somewhat lacking in imagination.
Going back to my original illustration. The lady concerned could imagine how a car might hit her if she stepped into the traffic. If I had spent longer with her and asked her more questions, I’m sure she could have described the sound of the brakes as the driver tried to stop the car before it hit her. She would tell me about the thud as the car slammed into her. She could have pictured the crowd gathering, heard the sound of the ambulance and felt the terror that came as she realised she had no identity with her.
That’s imagination, friend. You see, hear and experience images that are not real. But they often feel real enough. So much so that they can increase your heartbeat or give you a craving for your favourite chocolate bar.
Your writing will come alive when you use your imagination. Don’t just write from your head—write from the heart. Put yourself in the scene you’re describing and let yourself go. In no time, you’ll find yourself experiencing the emotions of your characters, and you’ll have a new ability to write what you’re seeing . . . in your imagination.