Rated: E · Book · Educational · #1299892
For all tips and guidelines to help improve your writing skills.
GETTING SHORT STORY IDEAS FROM PICTURES
The phrase 'a picture is worth a thousand words' is one that many of us have heard over the years, and sometimes don't sit to really think about its context or the enormity of just what it entails. How many times have we walked by a couple arguing, or a child crying, or someone laughing hsyterically, and we begin to wonder what must have caused such a thing to happen? How many times do you stare at magazine covers or a photograph and wonder about the story behind the image. We all, as writers, have very active imaginations and some of us tend to see the ordinary mundane things in a whole new light. Take for instance this image:
At first glance, there's absolutely nothing fantastic about it. It's just a dirty, old baseball sitting somewhere. Now, let's put our imaginations to work, shall we?
1. Study the dirt and grime on that ball. Notice the way the thread frays a little at the edges. Imagine if you will, the number of times it has fallen in the dirt, mud - a mixture of clay, sand and water. Can you smell it now? Can you hear the grunt of the catcher reaching for it as he tries to make the final out of the game? Can you hear the pounding footsteps, the loud 'plop' as it lands within the player's mitt? Can you hear the cries of the crowd behind the player? Imagine yourself in, say, Yankee Stadium, back in the good ol' days of Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson. Why, you're a spectator in the stand and you watch that ball hurling towards you, faster and faster until it's in your possession. You caught the homerun ball! You take it to be signed. It becomes the most cherished item in your life.
Wow. I could go on with this! But at least you get the idea.
2. However, that's the conventional and in a way 'boring' storyline to follow. So yes, it's a baseball and it's likely that you're going to write a story about baseball. But how about taxing your imagination a little bit? What if this isn't a ball at all? What if it's actually a space pod of some sort from a planet just discovered? Did the natives of this planet design this to micmic Earth's play object? Seems farfetched, doesn't it? But if it's written in the right way, creating characters, situations and scenarios that will make it believable, one ends up with a short story that will have readers buying a supposed ordinary 'baseball' can become quite extraordinary.
To stare at a picture and to bring it to life, is a lesson in imagery, imagery and did I mention imagery? It's in applying all the senses to the story, making the reader see, feel, smell and even taste what you, the writer, has to offer. I think it's one of the best and fun ways to get your muses going.
When you find an image or have a prompt given:
1. Don't worry too much about conforming closely to the photograph. The point is to get you writing -- ideally something you wouldn't have written otherwise.
2. Create a list of the words/phrases that the picture conjures up when you first see it. For example in the case of the baseball, you can have:
dirty or smelly
3. Decide on whether or not you will use all words in your story, or pluck out specific ones that stand out to you and begin to work from there.
4. Practice as much as possible everyday. Even looking at images from junk mail can inspire you to write at least 300 or more words a day!
5. Don't use something you've written in the past just because it fits the picture. Try to write something entirely new all the time. Seems difficult, but it can be done.