This is the last part of the road trip series. It’s not very long, but I hope the small things I learned can help you. Todays is about… pictures. I took a lot of pictures, on the trip; I shared a few on Twitter. Though most I took for myself.
As we were traveling, I was looking for inspiration. Of course, we are always told the best way to remember something is by writing it down, but as we traveled I got a better idea: taking pictures.
We all have had that moment, “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it.” And then an hour later we can’t remember. I feel writers are most guilty of this. So I made it a goal to write down any new idea or thought I have, but writing doesn’t always do the job. Taking a picture helps, after all, a pictures is worth more than a thousand words.
I got the idea as we were driving. I saw a mountain that was exactly what I wanted for a mountain in my book. At first I thought, “I’ll remember that.” But when I went to write it down, I couldn’t remember it clearly enough. Then the thought hit me, I have a smart phone; why didn’t I just take a picture of it? Then I can look it over while I write it. I took the picture on the way back. Take a look.
After that, I realized I could do this to capture my ideas. After all, isn’t that why we take pictures? So we can remember good times? We want to remember the ideas. So why don’t we do this more as writers?
I’ll show you a few more examples of pictures I took and how I use them.
I took this one because it has a unique feel. The snow and clouds give it one feeling, and the desert foreground adds a different dimension. Together they give a kind of foreboding, ominous feel. I have an area in my fantasy world that is like this. The picture allows me to capture the mood of the area better. Better than it would if I just wrote about it.
Now apart from being beautiful, this one has a good romantic/hopeful feel to it. It’s sunrise, we’d just started on our long drive home after an even longer trip. We were excited and ready to take on life.
Now, if I just wrote that, it would give you the basic idea, but with the picture you feel it better. So even if you don’t use this picture in the book (though you can because you took it) it helps the writer feel it. From my experience, nine out of ten times if the writer feelings it, the read will feel it too. I use these to help me get the feeling back in my mind and heart before I write the scene.
Okay, so this last one isn’t the best. I couldn’t get the post out of the way, but in the back, you can see the amazing salt flats and the mountains behind them. Now I don’t know what I’ll do with this yet, but can’t you just see the feeling of dread you’d get if you were told you had to reach those far mountains on foot, or better yet, can you picture an amazing battle on those flats? I could see it in my head. Now, I could just write it down, but the feeling of seeing it inspires me even more. Having the picture helps me get ideas. I could use this many times to get different ideas. This trick I used most on my trip. I would get an idea, take a picture and then let my mind go wild.
So the challenge: try it. When something you see inspires you, take a picture. Then go back and use it to help you feel the mood, sharpen ideas, or get your creative juices flowing. Then share them with me on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Use #WritingPhotos to share them with each other. If you want me to see them, tag me on Twitter at @RealRMDonaldson or using my Facebook page, R.M Donaldson
Now go forth! And take inspiriting, descriptive and powerful pictures!