Hey, writers! If you remember our video on imagery from last year, you know I love using imagery in storytelling to further enhance the world in which the characters live and breathe. By painting an image of your world in the reader’s mind, you give that world extra weight and detail. This helps them to connect more deeply to your characters.
Using Real Images
When we think of using imagery in our storytelling, we usually conjure a picture in our minds. Then we write the words to vividly express that image. Think of it like you’re the painter, your words are your paintbrush, and the page is your canvas. However, sometimes painters will paint from a real-life subject. So what if we used an actual picture to develop our story?
As an example, the band Nine Inch Nails released the album Ghosts I-IV in 2008 with an idea: each song would be inspired by a picture they would put up on their studio wall. They would try to capture the feeling of each image and convey what might be occurring through the sound of their music. Let’s try that same thing, but with writing.
Below is a series of 7 images (2 more than the video!), each with their own story of a thousand words. Pick one that stands out to you most and write a short story (or even a couple of paragraphs) using the image as your reference point. You could try describing in detail what is happening in each image, explaining what led up to that image, or imagining what happens immediately after the picture has been taken.
For bonus points, after you’ve written your story, share it with a friend or family member! Ask them what they picture in their head after reading. See how close they get to the original image you used. If you’re feeling an extra challenge, don’t hesitate to try this exercise with as many different images as you want. As always, if you want to share what you’ve written or would like some feedback on your work, please submit your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy writing!