My granddaughter, Brett, is on a Semester at Sea study/cruise this summer, and I’m having a grand time following her adventures. I check her itinerary each morning and when she sends an email, telling about specific places, I go to Google Images and find pictures of them. Her vivid descriptions plus the photos make me feel as if I’m experiencing the trip with her. Most recently I’ve imagined riding the chair lift on the Isle of Capri, visiting the Duomo Dome in Florence, Italy, and strolling around Mykonos Island. When she mentioned the name of a hostel where she’d spent one night, I was able to find a web site and see photos of that, too.
This kind of vicarious experience is what I strive for when I write fiction. I hope my readers will have pictures in their minds of the action and setting, and, through my words, will feel the hopes, fears, excitement and other emotions of the characters. If I do my job well enough, readers will feel as if they’ve taken that particular journey themselves.