The Use of Imagery to Improve Your Writing

I’ve done exactly that in my new book that I’d like to share with you. It’s entitled, The Abduction from the Pigsty. I will employ descriptions of nature’s surroundings: the moon, the sun, and the stars, and lots of other things. And remember, when this novel wins the Noble Prize, you read it here first. 

Story Line: Little Horace, a week-old Berkshire pig, is taken from its mother by an hombre named Dirty-Faced Jake Washburn, who plans to grow him into a hog, then take him to a slaughter house and convert him into five pigskin footballs, several pork tenderloins, and four ham hocks. 

However, this cutesy little pig, black with a pink snout and a white spot on his forehead, has been promised to our protagonist, Little Billy Sweatman Jr., by his father, Big Billy Sr.. Billy Jr. would raise Horace as his very own pet, and when he reached six hundred pounds, he would keep him in a custom-built house made of brick. 


Chapter One

On the night of the abduction, all seemed well. In the pigsty, eight little piglets sucked contentedly on the teats of Nancy, the sow, while Little Billy slouched in a wicker chair on the veranda of the Sweatman farm house. For reasons unknown to man or God, he looked up from his comic book to the heavens. 

He saw a round celestial body situated against a dark black sky, as black as night except for the presence of one lone star which could have been a planet. Little Billy quickly deduced that this ball-like stucture was the moon, but such a moon! It was silver and pale with some dark splotches, and to Billy’s mind, it looked sick, an anemic moon with a rash was what it was. 

A moon so ill that it would accept the emergency room bill for lab work, an MRI, and an ultrasound, without a whimper. 

He looked up again—no one knows why—and to his amazement, the moon had taken on a wistful creamy-beige, and just then he remembered the words of Amanda Blank, the girl with the pigtails in his third-grade class, who once told him that the moon was made of cheese and by golly, she could have been right. 

The splotches might not be a terminal rash after all, only mold. He sniffed the air. There was a musty smell, which in retrospect, may have been the body odor of Dirty-Faced Jake Washburn who had parked his truck near the pigsty, or possibly the pigsty itself. 

Alternatively, it could have been the Gorgonzola cheese that his grandmother, Old Granny, had put on the dinner salad with the garlic croutons, but no, Billy was convinced it was the smell of the moon. 

He looked up a third time and noticed that one corner of the celestial body had a hoary shine, reminding him of the silver dollars that he’d collect when Horace won first prize as the handsomest pig in the 4F competition at the Missouri State Fair. 


Chapter Two

When Little Billy came home from school the following day, he was chagrined that his milk and cookies were not waiting for him on the kitchen table. 

He asked his mother why? Mother Maude shrugged her shoulders and pointed to Old Granny who got a bit teary-eyed, and then Little Billy realized that something must be terribly wrong. He asked his father about Horace in a timorous voice, but Big Billy pretended not to have heard him, hiding behind his newspaper that fathers tended to do in those days (nowadays Dad would keep his head down, intent on sweeping the kitchen floor or loading the dishwasher). 

Little Billy hustled to the barn fearing the worst. 

On his way, he glanced at the setting sun and to his horror, it looked like it might crash into far end of the earth near the horizon. 

Little Billy curled up near the old outhouse waiting for the tremendous crash, but when he looked up again the sun had somehow made it behind the earth without a collision. 

Billy breathed a sigh of relief as he recalled the conversation at the Thanksgiving dinner table, just a week ago. Jumpy Joey, his uncle, had told Maude and Big Billy that he’d done research on Facebook. 

It turned out that Nicolas Copernicus had no idea what he was talking about when he claimed that the Earth, that gigantic green and blue world made by God, actually revolved around the sun. If that were true, why was the sun so small and the Earth so big? 

That’s why Joshua of the Old Testament was able to stop the sun in its tracks. Even a cloud was bigger than the sun, and that’s how we got cloudy days. Little Billy was thinking about the sobering words of Jumpy as he started toward the barn. (I’ll be doing some editing, checking my knowledge of astronomy before we go to press.)


Chapter Three

Before Billy could get to the barn, the sun had set. Billy believed that the clouds were happy that it hadn’t run into the earth because there was a glorious sunset, a bright bloody russet sunset, a tangerine flare of rouge and cinnabar, or was it vermilion? 

There were streaks of yellow going out as far as the eye could see, yes yellow like an egg yolk or possibly a lemon. There were bands of gold too, some flaxen and some amber, like the color of the peach pies that Granny liked to bake, and the bourbon she liked to drink. 

Billy stared up once more. He noticed that the smoke emitting from the coal-fired electric plant had turned purple with a tinge of lilac, or maybe mauve morphing into a magenta. Billy reached the door of the weather-beaten old barn. Some of the boards were missing and the paint was peeling. 

He saw deep gashes in the door where someone had taken an ax to it, the slash marks resembling his older sister’s legs, the first time she tried to shave them. Billy examined the busted lock, it was smashed like a baked potato just before butter was added, and well before any sour cream or shredded cheese had been applied. 

Billy thought of the Limburger moon and shuddered. 


To be continued…