1. Home 
  2. Introduction
  3. On Our Glossary and Taxonomy
  4.     Glossary of Terms
  5.     Taxonomies of Creative Nonfiction
  6.             Central Questions
  7.             Dramatic Design
  8.             Forms
  9.             Genre and Veracity
  10.             Imagery
  11.             The Mind
  12.             Language
  13.             Narrative Energy
  14.             Narrators
  15.             Scene
  16.             Topics
  17.             Truth
  18. The Central Question Podcast
  19. Contact the Authors

Taxonomy of Imagery (Chapter 6)

Associative Development is the process through which the writer studies their own images to discover a set of implicit concerns, obsessions, or curiosities, which can then be unpacked and analyzed through a series of associative leaps both intellectual and creative.

Cornerstone Images, like the cornerstone of a building, serve as the foundational images or scenes for rich creative nonfiction. These images help us discover the next image and the next. 

Dilated Images are images that are slowed down and see up close, suggesting an image that has been long considered, as fight or flight and novel moments often are, and also images that have been, literally, seared into our brains.

Infrastructure is a web of connected or resonant images that serve as scaffolding for the work; infrastructure holds the work together like nexus points in a spider web.

Significant Sensory Details are sensory details that work on multiple levels to reflect emotional truth and teach the reader how to experience the image. The best sensory details evoke an emotional or aesthetic mood, cultivate setting or character, create or extend a metaphor, all of the above, or in some other way convey multiple levels of meaning.