Writing With Images

August 2009 MosaicVisualizing a setting helps me get at the details that I most want to share when I'm writing, and I often turn to images for inspiration. Looking at a photo or a painting can lead me to the perfect words for the texture of a fabric, the cast of a character's expression, or the shape of the rooftop beneath my heroine's feet.

I track down specific references using Flickr or Google Image Search as I need them, but I also keep a selection of evocative images to browse through whenever my descriptions need a kick.

I stuff magazine and catalog pages in a file box split into a few broad categories like "environments" and "interiors." I also use Evernote to clip and tag digital photos.

Surrounding myself with visually interesting images keeps me focused on the type of solid details that can ground the other elements of a story. It's also a fun change of pace to knock out a few words based on something I'm looking at rather than something that's entirely inside my head.

photos and mosaic by Jill Clardy, used under Creative Commons

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