Saturday, February 8, 2020

Imagery & Writing

I'm late, IWSG!

I know, and I'm super sorry about that. I sat down to write up a post, life happened, and then my aging memory totally forgot about it. #slapsforehead

This month's IWSG question is all about the visual. 

Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

When I do classroom Skype visits, one of the first things I share with the kids is that I consider myself a visual writer. Lots of my inspiration comes from flipping through family photos, images of nature on the internet, or fantastical drawings or paintings. I'm also a huge history buff, so sometimes I even search out events in history to scan through old photos or depictions that had been captured by some long-gone soul.

So, yes, I'm very inspired by the visual. And, yes, my stories have all been inspired - to some degree or another - by what I see. 

credit
This image inspired the relationship between Fleishman (one of my middle grade character's in Motley Education) and his legless lizard Nigel. It didn't inspire what Nigel would eventually look like, but how the lizard felt about his owner, and how his owner would grow the feel about him. Anytime I wrote a scene where the two were together, I'd stare at this image first. It got me in the emotional mood I needed to carry their sweet relationship from my brain to the page.

The visual life is a great tool writers an utilize. It's all around us . . . all the time. We just have to pay attention.

A big thank you goes out to this month's co-hosts! Sorry I can't link you here. I visited the site, today, and your names were already gone. But you RAWK! Also, sending Alex J. Cavanaugh lots of writing mojo for all his efforts with the IWSG. 

14 comments:

  1. That's very cool. A legless lizard? Unique choice.

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    1. Yeah, talk about using visual aids to find your POV. After doing hours and hours of research online for a unique reptilian of some sort, I found a lizard with no legs, but it's not a snake. It's real. It totally suited my main male lead character because he's a by-the-book kind of kid, while the lizard is totally out-of-the-box.

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  2. Yes, image hit that emotional connection that help you feel the character. Very well said. Love the image too.

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  3. I love getting inspiration from visuals, too. When I write about historically real people, I always look up as many photographs of them as I can. It forges a connection that helps me capture them on the page. And my mystery, The Caged Graves, was inspired by the discovery of a photograph of one of the real caged graves. Never would have written that book if I hadn't seen the photo.

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    Replies
    1. The connection that you mention is exactly what I'm referring to. Visual aids help me accomplish that connection. Great point! Yeah, I remember that image you shared about the real caged graves. So creepy...
      Glad to see how amazingly you're doing! Can't wait for your next release to come out.

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  4. That's a beautiful image. I'm not very visual...or at least, haven't been so far. But who knows :)

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  5. I like having a folder of pics for my current wip. It does help to visualize things. For my most recent, I had a ton of pics from the 1950s, esp. cars and clothes.

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    1. I bet that was some interesting research. I love old photos.

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  6. Hi Sheri,

    I am DEFINITELY a visual person. MY training was even at School of Visual Arts in NYC: The college I attended and received my BFA. Nature, photographs, art and life's pictures have always inspired me and always will... We share that, Sheri!

    Beautiful image of the boy and lizard. I can see the emotion and why it inspired you.

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    1. Super cool that you trained at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. 

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  7. Love the picture! There's a lot of emotion in that picture, and I think it's so cool that that was what you were trying to capture. I'm a visual person, but I can't think of a time when I was inspired by an image. Usually my ideas come from what if scenarios or people watching or thinking about different issues. But I often keep pictures of what I think my characters look like. That helps me as I'm writing. Interesting post!

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  8. Very cool picture. It looks like the lizard has its wing around the boy, protecting him. I could come up with all kinds of stories from that!

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