Imagine That! Images for the Writing Life

by Sabina I. Rascol
Published on: January 30, 2014
Categories: Creativity, Inspiration
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Seville

The other week, home from a library book sale (which I love, love, love, Book Junkie—and now Bookseller!—that I am), I spread out my haul to savor. Cook books—yum! Art books—beautiful! And a travel guide to Seville (LEFT) and the region of Andalusia—one of those colorful guides, chock-full of intriguing photographs, that I can’t resist. This particular guide was in Spanish, and though I can figure some out (courtesy of my knowledge of Romanian), I mostly looked at the pictures. And I became lost in a reverie…

 

Graceful hands and swirling skirts of flamenco dancers…

Matadors in ornate, fitted suits…

A candle-lit procession moving at twilight through the streets…

An elegant store with shelves reaching to tall ceilings…

Which of “My Books” could these images illuminate?

One thing to know about me as a Writer is that I have several works-in-progress in the wings, waiting for their turn once the historical middle-grade novel I’ve mentioned here finishes its time in my writing spotlight. These are fantasy and fairytale retellings that I can hardly wait to finish and read myself. The stories are informed by various places, moods, and images. So, as I leaf through the Seville guide, I wonder: which of my future novels will best be served by the image of that elegant tall store? By the mood evoked in me by the movement of people in that candle-lit street?

Of course, the same images could be used in a very different way—as factual documentation—if I were writing a book set in the real Seville.

You probably already use images to support your writing. To inspire you further, here are some ways Scrivas capture helpful images.

You can have a bookshelf or section thereof devoted to a particular project. Scriva Liz I believe does so, with all the books she buys or endlessly renews from local libraries as she researches her fabulous non-fiction books.

You can store images online. One time Scriva Amber showed photographs she found on the Internet of people who looked as she envisioned the characters in her first novel.

You can make a binder book. Scriva Nicole photocopied and printed out in color so many images related to her book set in mid-16th century Flanders that she ran out of printer ink. Or you can tear out pages from magazines, as you come across people or places or other images that remind you of your story.

And perhaps more than one method will best serve your book.

Which do you like best, or want to try first—or next?

 

I don’t want to leave this post about a writer’s use of images without mentioning an important last one: the collage—be it on posterboard, accordion foldout, repurposed or artist’s book—where you imagine dreams or goals for yourself as a writer.

The collage can help focus you, or show you things may not quite have realized are important to you. It can be a snapshot of where you are now as a writer (“I will pursue my own way!” emerged for me at our Scriva January 2012 goals meeting); of goals; or of ridiculous, wonderful dreams that you barely dare dream but would be thrilled to see happen.

 

So this year, how will you use images to help further along your fantasy novel, or realistic story, whether fiction or non-fiction…or you?

 

-Sabina I. Rascol

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