Sunday, May 10, 2009

Visual Writing Aid 5-9-09

Last summer, I took quite a few pictures during my trip to San Francisco. This is one I took at a Redwood forest park.

Not sure whether this was a vine or a dying tree limb, but it was hanging down almost to the forest floor. The shape and angles intrigued me.

I decided to post it today because I just finished reading The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. This oddly shaped tree limb/vine makes me think of that book -- the Crooked Man, the wild forests the boy travels through, the shifts and twists of the plot.

Do you ever keep pictures that remind you of the book you’re working on? Do you hang them up so you can see them as you work? Make them into a screen saver?
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  1. Actually no - I haven't kept a photo or image up in view while writing. But you know what, that seems like a very good idea. I have a WIP in which the main character is a homeless man. Wouldn't be a bad idea to have some images of homeless people and urban blight available to meditate on now and again to keep the "feel."

  2. I have images of of people who look like my characters stored in my computer. I usually select an athlete or actor that closely resembles my idea of the character.

    That is a really cool photo BTW!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  3. Not so far. I've got a couple songs that now remind me of one of my stories because I played them over and over again while writing it.

  4. Marvin & Diane, I like your ideas. I sometimes tear pictures out of a magazine that fit with a character or town or house, etc. in the book.

    Thank you, Diane. I know you take pictures, so I appreciate that.

  5. I do that also, Meg. I play music that fits the mood or theme of what I'm writing!

  6. That really is a nice photo, Helen. Just a little creepy in that it reminds me of a snake, and I'm not fond of snakes. But the form certainly draws the eye to it. Nice capture.

    I don't keep photos up, but I do make maps of my settings, and pin them to the wall. It doesn't matter if it's SF, fantasy, or mystery, I like to sketch out the lay of the land and then keep it handy. Helps keep me from making silly blunders.

  7. I did that with one manuscript, Jon. I had created a town, so I laid it out street by street. It definitely helps!

  8. No, I don't keep pictures posted that remind me of my WIP but do play music with a particular feel for the scene I am working on.

    I imagine that sometimes images can give visualization into a brewing backstory or feel for a scene in the story.

    Interesting thought.

    NA Sharpe

  9. I would think pictures would be especially helpful if your using a real setting.

  10. I'm working on a memoir, so photos quickly put me back in the moment. I think about what was happening before and what happened after the photo was taken. Since I spent a lot of time at hospitals and nursing homes, returning to those places (and it doesn't have to be the original site) evoke many memories, sights and sounds.

  11. That's interesting, Stacy. I think of pictures for writing fiction, but, of course, they would be wonderful for memoir!

  12. Helen,
    I never thought about taking and keeping picutures for writing. Odd because I usually have a camera in my hands and I get many ideas from things I see while touring. I have a story haunting me now that centers around a well. The well in in the Alamo, but I'll have to move it or find another Texas landmark with a really cool well. Hmm.

    Anyone have any pics of Texas Wells (the water kind)?

    Charlotte Phillips
    A Box of Texas Chocolates (Sept 2009)
    A Death in Texas

  13. I have done some writing to describe a photo, but not the other way round. It's good that this way work for you.

    In Quest of Theta Magic

  14. Don't have any pictures of Texas wells - water, oil or gas. Considering I live in Texas, that's a bit odd, now that I think about it. Sorry, Charlotte.


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