Posts Tagged ‘pictures’

Where to Find Story Ideas: Pictures

Continuing on with our story idea theme, Squiders, today we’ll be discussing pictures. There is a reason that they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

image of sunlit door

Pictures can and often are a great way to find story ideas at any point in the process. You can use them for basically anything, from helping you flesh out the way a character or world works, to figuring out the tone or mood of a scene, to adding in a plot element you hadn’t previously thought about.

Pictures can work in two ways: enhancing what you already have, or adding in new things.

Sometimes you have a basic idea of something, like, for example, you know your story is set in a forest.  A forest is a pretty basic setting, and you may feel that as long as you have trees and flowers and your standard forest-type creatures (deer, bears, squirrels) you’re good to go.

However, there’s a big difference between this:

and this:

There’s a ton of different types of forests out there, and knowing what kind you’re using, using pictures to help you get a better idea of what you’re working, can make a world of difference in your prose.

Many authors keep story-specific inspiration boards to help them use images to enhance their stories. They often include settings, characters, objects–or maybe just abstract images that remind them of a plot point or a theme.

(You can see the boards for Shards and City of Hope and Ruin here.)

Pictures can also be helpful for adding in new elements or starting a new story. We talked about adding images to your story idea files previously, but you can also go through your file and see if any of the images you saved can fit into your current story if something is missing.

(For example, I used this image to help me flesh out one of the characters from a 2014 short story, A Bargain Beyond.)

If you can’t find anything you’ve already saved that works, you can always go looking. If you have a general idea what you’re looking for, you can also do a search on Google, Pinterest, deviantArt, or flickr. Otherwise, websites like Pinterest and deviantArt, if you’ve set up an account with them, will give you a “feed” of images, based on what’s popular and what you’ve previously shown an interest in, and sometimes scrolling through there can give you some useful images.

Got anything to add, Squiders? Your favorite use for images in writing or your favorite place to find them?

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A Well of Inspiration

Every now and again, I feel a bit dried up, like I have squeezed every interesting idea from my head and that nothing more will come. I think we all feel that way sometimes, for whatever reason, whether we’ve pushed ourselves too hard or agreed to something that’s not our cup of tea. The nice thing is that it’s not so hard to search out and find a kernel, a spark, to ignite everything again.

I have two sources I turn to when I’m in need of inspiration: pictures and music.

I’ve talked about music here before, but as a quick refresher: I find music an excellent way to get the ol’ juices flowing. I choose music based on what I want to write – gothic for horror, symphonic metal for fantasy, etc. Whether it’s a lyric, a chord, whatever, I find that just putting music on in the background can often time hit the right nerve and inspire something great.

Pictures, well. I admit description is not my strongest strength, but sometimes a picture really hits the creative noggin right between the eyes. (I apologize, my metaphors are getting weirder the longer this entry goes on. I blame, uh, the tribble. Yes.) Take a look at this beauty I found earlier today: here.

My trigger pictures are almost always ruins. Probably says something about my psyche, but there’s something about an old building, partially reclaimed by nature, coated in moss and promising oh so many secrets, that makes my hair stand on end. Can’t you just see someone descending down, in search of some hidden treasure or a necessary clue?

The Fairest is a good site for trigger picture searching, if landscapes and nature do it for you. I know some people prefer portraits; you may find Portrait Photos to be more your speed.

How about you, Squiders? What helps in your dry times? Any websites to recommend?