Friday: Imagery Exercise—Underwater Hotel!

Welcome back to our Imagery Friday!  If you’re here for the first time, you might want to read our first post about imagery HERE. It’s brief, but fun (and opens in a new tab or window so you don’t lose this page).  When you’re done, come back here for today’s exercise. You’re also welcome to click on “imagery friday” in the Tags section just under my photo. This will bring up a list of all Friday exercises relating to imagery.


Dubai, United Arab Emirates, has emerged as a center of modern architecture that stretches the imagination.

Today’s exercise is about the imagery produced by a hotel, and what a hotel it will be!  Below, I’ve included two images, but it is the second image that we should focus on for our exercise on imagery. The reason I’m using such an unusual image is to ask you to examine how images of unfamiliar or strange places can heighten familiar emotions. They can refresh our senses, which lingers in our minds and hearts longer than the absolute familiar.

Writing is about leaving your reader with an unshakable image, of course. And while it’s easy to describe something literally, it’s far richer to explore your imagery in terms of the unfamiliar.  Language is rich in  metaphor and simile for that very reason: these figures of speech allow you to allude to feelings and functions that deepen the imagery you’re creating.  (My course, Impact of Style II: Our Figurative Language, provides clear explanations of figures of speech as well as practical, hands-on exercises to familiarize the student with each one.)

EXERCISE: Today, you should write TWO descriptions (both of the second photo):

  1. first, a literal description, of what you see;
  2. second, a description that extends your imagery by using comparison to NON-WATER-BASED things.

Once you’ve written your imagery descriptions, post both of them in the comments section of this post. I’ll respond to each description, with observations of what works well, and what might need a tweak.

So with no further ado … here are your photos:

Dubai Underwater Hotel, view from the air

Dubai Hotel of the Near Future














Isn’t that mind-blowing?


Dubai, Underwater  Hotel, view from your room…

Imagery for Writers
Underwater Hotel Room











Can’t you just imagine?!


Remember to post your descriptions—both of them (the literal description, and the figurative description) about the second photo—in the comments section of this post!

Write in JOY!




  • Gary

    whew! this was HARD!

    a room for rent for one-night stands, a fish bowl where the spectrum swims about but pays no notice of your indiscretions.

    imagine every hue of swarming fowl surrounding you in skies the color of infinity.

    • Yes, very hard, but the hardest part might be deciding upon WHAT feeling or emotion you wish to evoke with your description of this image. The image is startling, but it feels hard and cold. The coldness is the sparsity of color and shape in the hotel room itself, and the hardness is the separation from the beauty, yes? So the beauty is outside, but the interior — where you’re actually going to be living — is alien.

      This sparsity-alien is reflected in your “one-night stands,” which is sex without love, yes? So you felt that alienation, and it’s reflected quite well in your #1 description.

      Your second description has beautiful imagery — love the swarming fowl, which brings a unique thought about fish to mind — but I think you miss the mark slightly with your “imagine.” Our descriptions should create that imaginative spark in our readers, not ask them to do it. Consider a rewrite on that one, if you have time. Remove the “imagine,” and try to recreate the confusion of the eye drawn off to infinity.

      (I’ll post my later tonight, and yes, it’s HARD — but FUN!)

      • Gary

        hmmm, howz ’bout:
        “every hue of swarming fowl surrounds you in this open cage the color of infinity”

        • Better! I love the image of the cage, because of the ribs of the windows, but “open?” Wouldn’t a glass-in cage create a more accurate image? And yes, you’re allowed the poetic license. 🙂

          I’m still struck by the juxtaposition of “fowl” with fish. Nice!