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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Picture inspires a thousand words

by Carlie M.A. Cullen

All the advice about writing states you should write something every day, and it’s something I try to do as much as possible. But there are days when you don’t have a W.I.P. to work on; maybe you’ve just finished a draft and it’s with your editor, maybe you’re just lacking a little inspiration, or maybe you want to have a break from the norm and do something a little different. Whatever the reason behind it, you may find yourself needing a little prompt.

Enter pictures.

As my wonderful host and I share a love of fantasy, I’m going to use fantasy pictures as an example. All I’ve done is type ‘fantasy pictures’ into the Google images search bar and found some real beauties. Let’s take this one as a first example:

Just think about what you can write using this picture for inspiration. I could probably write close on a thousand words just on the girl alone! When you add in all the background detail and work it all into a story to explain who the people and creatures are and what’s happening in the scene, you have the makings of a great story or flash fiction.

Here’s another example:

Who is this woman? Are those spikes on a headdress or protruding from her skin? What do the tattoos mean? What sort of land does she inhabit? Is she good or evil? Does she possess magic or a paranormal talent? The more questions you can ask about the picture, the more you have to write about.

A third example:

Where are these two? What magic does the woman possess? Is the warrior beside her man or creature? Why does she need a warrior – is it for protection or is she his prisoner? Are they about to undertake a journey on the water or have they just arrived? Where are they going/coming from? What is the purpose of their journey? Who/what is the woman? Do the spikes on the warrior’s armour signify anything specific?

Final example:

This city looks dark and grim, but is it really? Is it the fact it’s nestled between mountains which gives that appearance? Is it really a happy and bright place? What is this world like? What is their ecosystem? What creatures inhabit the surrounding land? What type of people live in this city? Who rules them? Why was it constructed in a valley? What are the structures built from? Who is the lone person standing on the rocks – is he a sentry or a spy? Who are the enemies of the citizens and why?

I could go on for ages listing questions for each of these pictures, but I think you get my point. There’s an old saying, ‘a picture paints a thousand words’; well for me it’s more like, ‘a picture inspires a thousand words’. So the next time you need a little inspiration or are looking to write something different, find a picture that sparks your interest, make a list of questions and get to work.


 Carlie M A Cullen is the author of the novel Heart Search, blogger extraordinaire and loyal friend to many -both human and mythical.

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