My family camping photographs of national and state parks, in caves or mighty forests or on mountains or rivers and lakes have inspired many an adventure short story. You can see some of these photographs at my Camping with Five Kids blog.
Most recently, hiking in the Adirondack Mountains in New York inspired one of my current works in progress that I spoke about last month.
I think I’ve got the pacing, when the protagonist finally realizes that because his father believed in him, he needs to believe in himself. I’ve got to make sure the emotion is there. That’s the difficult part for me. I’ve got so much going on in the short story—only 1800 words, remember—that many times I forget to leave word space to show emotions. How do you tuck in telling emotions in story?
|The boulder scramble to the
top of Mt. Marcy Adirondack
Mountains in New York.
Thank you all so much for sharing your experiences with allergic reactions and helping me understand why and how to use the EpiPen last month. I’ve learned so much and hope to get back to that story shortly. First I need to be brave enough to let go and send out my Adirondack story. One story at a time, Vic, one story at a time.
I find photographs, especially of personal experiences, extremely helpful in story creation. Not only can they give you a visual reminder of a place, but if you study the photograph or a painting of a particular place, you can wrap your mind around questions to ask through story. What if questions. Deeply penetrating questions. Why is the protagonist here? What is he doing? What is he running away from or trying to hide from? What is he trying to make sense of in his life?
Try it yourself. Pick up any photograph or gaze deeply into a piece of artwork. Study the faces of the people in them. What could they be thinking about? What problems are they trying to solve? Describe them. Better yet, create them!
I’ll be interested to see how you’ve tackled this month’s question. It’s great having a topic to share our thoughts on each month. I am extremely thankful for all of you for being my sounding board and advisors in this writing and publishing game.
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This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.
35 thoughts on “Insecure Writers Want to Know: Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?”
Glad you get inspiration from your family photos.
One story at a time…
What a lovely idea, you will never run out of something to write, Victoria.
Hi Victoria – if I was writing stories … I'd base mine on Edward Lear … probably The Owl and The Pussycat … loved it. Cheers – Hilary
My family photos are great for remembering a specific landscape or national park area. Definitely one story at a time, Alex.
It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your week!
I hope so! Thank you so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. I truly appreciate it. And thank you for supplying your blog link. I'll be over shortly to see what you've written. Enjoy your week!
I've looked Edward Lear up online. An artist/illustrator, author, and poet. Gosh! It would be great to be able to do all those things well. My Dad sometimes made up stories about talking animals. They are fun stories, especially for children.
Thank you so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. I really appreciate it. All best to you!
Glad you get inspiration from pictures. I'll try your suggestion about looking at pictures. Thanks.
When I'm writing about places I've never been to, or fantastical locales, I love to hunt for cool pictures to inspire me. 🙂
I have to admit that I love looking at photographs, but what turns on my mind is looking at people. My mind starts spinning stories and on certain sentences that stick in my mind has me spinning stories too.
Wishing you all the best.
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange
I see how photographs inspire your YA stories, Victoria. For me, it works opposite. I think about an article or blog post I want to write and then look for photos in my archives to go with them. If I ever run out of inspiration, watching the photos tell stories would be an awesome start.
Emotions in stories – especially short ones – are tough. We can’t always “show”. Sometimes, I “tell” emotions by the way I describe a scene, like “watching my loved ones leave through a haze of tears.”
Funny. I'm so visual but never thought of personal photos to inspire me. 🙂
Anna from elements of emaginette
My pleasure, Natalie! Glad the post is helpful. It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your week!
Definitely, Chrys! Photos are so helpful to give us a sense of place in story. Thank you so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. I really appreciate it. All best to you!
So true, Pat. I love to people watch, too. You start asking questions about the person and create a whole backstory for them to explain how they look, act, and feel.
Thanks so much for your note here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your week!
Wow, Liesbet, that is a wonderful description of an emotion. I LOVE the "haze of tears" part!
Darling, you must have such an "archive" of photos of the places you've visited and the people you've met. Gosh! I can't even imagine. You should be set for life with story ideas. And you're still exploring this beautiful world of ours. More power to you!
It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your week!
I'm visual too, Anna. That's why photos help me to create stories. Thanks so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your week!
Great idea for inspiration. Never thought to look at personal photos. Happy IWSG!
Like Juneta (above), I never thought about looking a personal photos. What a clever idea. Hope you have a great writing month.
So excited about your story. Again, good luck. I don't use photos. Maybe I should. Getting the emotion down is hard. I get feedback about my works-in-progress needing more emotion. It's still something I need to improve on. Thanks for this post.
Hi again. I just read a WriterUnboxed article by Cathy Yardley that mentioned about using pictures to tap into your subconscious to get to what your story is. Here's part of a quote from that article: "…I think it's good to shift focus from writing, which can be too linear and left brained…"
Just love when synchronicity strikes.
Thank you, Juneta. I think personal photos can help to create characters too. Happy IWSG day to you, too!
Thanks so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your weekend!
Thank you, Diane. I hope you have a great writing month, too. I appreciate your note here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your weekend!
Thank you so much for sharing your insight and blog readings here at Adventures in Writing, Dawn. It is so appreciated. I never thought about the left-brain, right-brain connection.
It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your weekend!
Fascinating to get an insight into how photographs, especially personal ones, inspire your stories in so many ways. A photographic rabbit hole?
Sorry I’m late in getting back to you, usual hospital visits, and thanks for your support. Thin Time didn’t do as well as I’d hoped because I didn’t use a subtitle on the cover that would have helped people understand the meaning… (sigh)
I'm so sorry I'm late, Victoria. I love camping. I spent 5 months camping at Waterfront Campground in Chipman, NB last summer. It was an awesome adventure. I'm back camping in BC this spring while we build our house. I'm here to say that I think (crossing fingers) I'm finally beginning to outgrow my allergic reaction to mosquito bites. I think. I hope. Great post, BTW.
Absolutely, Roland! I need to be very careful not to get involved with remembering trips and family events and forget that I'm "researching" for a story.
I appreciate your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your week!
We live and learn. At least I learn everything the hard way.
So it's very important to have a subtitle on the cover so prospective readers actually know what the book is about. Thank you so much for sharing this insight here at Adventures in Writing. I truly appreciate it. Enjoy your week!
No worries, Joylene. It takes me a while to leave and answer comments, too.
So cool you went camping for 5 months! You are so lucky! Awesome that you will be camping in BC in the spring.
And all the luck with you new home. Wow! To have someone else do all the hard work, that's great. My husband is a do-it-yourself-type of person, which means EVERYTHING takes longer.
Thank you for your kind words, Joylene. I truly appreciate them here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your week!
Awesome that all these photos inspire you!
Yes they do! Thank you so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Happy Valentine's Day!
Happy Valentine's Day, Victoria! Great post on how the photos inspire you.
How very kind of you to say, so, Victoria.
Thank you so much! I hope you had a beautiful Valentine's Day, too. I truly appreciate your kind words here at Adventures in Writing. Have a wonderful week!
My pleasure, Carole. Thanks for your note here at Adventures in Writing. Have a wonderful week!