It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but one good mental picture painted with words will last far longer.
How do you paint mental pictures?
Mental pictures aren't just descriptions of physical items. Mental pictures include emotions, sensations, smells, tastes, sounds, none of which need to actually exist in reality.
The very best mental pictures include as many sensations as you can manage to get into them. The more the merrier, and if your reader can relate to the mental picture you are painting, then you are an artist with words!
Mental pictures expand your examples, but they can make or break your presentation. If your examples have no action and no emotion, your reader is going to yawn and drift off into a more exciting place that they build in their own mind.
Remember the carburetor example? I used that example for a reason. Bet you didn't think I could justify that. You don't know me very well do you?
That example provided you with a glimpse into my life. (My husband is a mechanic.) It also provided you with the fact that we've been married for a while. (He gave me one of his "patented" looks.) Between the look he gave me and the fact that I called him in from the other room, you had physical action. Limited action, but movement none the less.
Some of you may be able to relate to the look I got. Some from one side and some from the other side. You know that look from your spouse or you give that look to your spouse. You know that there is an inner "sigh" that accompanies that look, and so you can relate to that emotion.
To further expand that example and really make you remember it, I could say I called him in from the kitchen where he was making popcorn. (Imprints a smell, but a dangerous one because I might make you hungry and you will log off and go make popcorn.) Or I could say that he tripped over one of my cats coming into the room. (Action plus added information - I have cats. If you love or hate cats, and I don't know a soul that is neutral about them, then you can relate to poor kitty getting stepped on, or darned cat get out of the way!)
If I really wanted you to remember that example or give you an even further insight into my life, I could have had him yell at me that I'm stupid and he couldn't explain a carburetor to me if he had a year to do it in. That, of course, didn't happen, but you can see just how much emotion that would have added.
Don't Over Do!
Using examples sparingly and only when needed, you won't find yourself with the problem of over doing the qualities in your mental pictures. Some of the best novels I've ever read didn't stop the action to describe the room the characters were in.
Instead of saying that the characters are in a large room with a brick fireplace, try to incorporate the picture into the action with a character leaning on a fireplace chatting with another character who is across the room beyond the firelight.
Transport Your Readers
Forget that you are sitting at a keyboard and so are your readers. Transport them with you into a mental world you created just for this occasion. They will remember far longer what you wrote.
I have so often portrayed myself as living inside 3moons Castle in some of my other writing, that friends at forums I frequent often refer to me as M'Lady or Lady S. That tells me that what I wrote as pure fiction stuck in their minds, just like it did mine.