If a picture is worth a thousand words, why not use photos to inspire what you write?
I’ve heard of fiction authors who tape a photo of their main character next to their computer as they write. The picture inspires their words and focuses on their character description. This seems like an intriguing idea, one I never got around to doing – until this week.
Though the physical features of the characters in my novella, Ice Creamed, (soon to be a full-blown YA novel) reside in my mind, they morphed as I wrote. I realized I needed an image to anchor my vision of who they are. I needed pictures. I went online.
Though pictures of people abound on the internet, I found it difficult to locate the exact photo that fully captured what I envision my characters to look like. You see, these people have been living in my mind for a few months; they’ve become my friends as I’ve written about them, and I’ve even fallen in love with them—well, most of them. Trying to find a picture to match what is in my head and the words I have already written is hard. It might be impossible.
However, I’m going to add a secondary story arc to expand a minor character. I had no mental image of her; she was a clean slate. As I scrolled through pictures looking for one suitable for my main character, Brianna, another image popped out. That’s Rachel! I knew it immediately. It was perfect.
I knew Rachel would play volleyball and was a setter. The Rachel in my photo exudes confidence, her eyes are sharp, and she’s intense—just what you want in a setter. A nickname jumped out: “Rambo.” A fiery volleyball player named Rambo. She’s going to be so much fun to write. I can’t wait to get started.
Going forward I’m going to find pictures for all my characters before I start writing them. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words—and so much more.