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Pictures Aimed At Your Brain

By Dr. Insensitive Jerk

Feelustration Types

All feelustrations are metaphors for scenes in the story. This is by necessity, since the first rule of feelustration is: Pictures must not literally depict the story. Thus, if a picture is not metaphorical, it is irrelevant.

Image by Stephan Forstmann
(Pixabay user max-i-m

While all feelustrations are metaphorical, they may still be divided into types:

  1. Priming. A concept presented before an event will make that aspect of the event more vivid. This is just biology. When the human brain is primed with a concept, it responds more strongly to the concept.

    For example, if a tiger springs out of your closet, your brain will jump higher if it has been primed by a rattlesnake. A nice, menacing snake picture will activate the brain circuitry for, dangerous animals that might jump at me.

    If you only use priming images, you should expect reviews that say, "The pictures didn't add much, but I loved the story."

  2. Mood. The human brain can be primed with concepts that are broad and complex. For example, a discussion of the base aspects of human nature might be primed by a picture of an ape, to invoke a primitive gestalt.

  3. Reinforce. The reader's response can be reinforced by a picture immediately after an event.

    As every good teacher knows, our brains respond best to ideas that arrive via multiple paths. For example, after a romantic disaster, an image of a car crash.

    Reinforcing is just priming in reverse, with the text priming the reader for the picture.

  4. Foreshadow is also a type of priming. For example, a picture of a car crash before a romantic disaster.

  5. Reinterpret. A picture can change the reader's perception of an event. For example, a car salesman offering a discounted lease, followed by a picture of a baited trap.

  6. Punchline is the extreme of reinterpreting. Here the picture violates the expectations created by the text. For example, a prospective intern asks if he will get professional responsibilities, and is assured he will, followed by a picture of a coffee maker.

  7. Narrator. A feelustration can state an unspoken (or better yet, unspeakable) truth. A feelustration can be particularly effective as a true answer to an uncomfortable question.

    For example, consider a scene where a woman asks, "Do you think I am pretty?" and a man answers, "Of course." The scene will read differently, if the question and answer are separated by a picture of a pig.