Monday, October 26, 2009

How visual are you?

Lately, I've been hearing - - or I should say, seeing a lot of writers use visual aids in their writing process. Some go full out with an elaborate collage. It might be made up of pictures of characters, scenery and locations, or even objects. The idea is it's whatever is personally inspiring to the author. And I keep saying I will do a full collage, but considering how much time I spend just selecting one picture, I probably won't. The close as I usually come to a visual aid is downloading a screen saver. (And it also explains why I rarely have a picture with my blog post!)

But on my WIP, River of Tears, I wanted to get a visual of a scene in New Zealand. Being as I had never been there, I thought it would help. So off I went, looking for the "perfect" scenery pictures. Oh, boy.

My hero and heroine are at a lookout point overlooking a river with a waterfall and a rope bridge. I needed the waterfall in the distance. Not too close. They aren't getting sprayed by water or else I'd have to have them decked out in ponchos. The same went for the river. It has to be rushing fast enough to be loud enough to cover the noise of an approaching helicoptor. (I won't get into that.) And the rope bridge is old. Most I found were too modern or "safe" with touristy guard rails and such . Finally I found just the right one. I'd show you, but it wound up being one that cost something like $400 for the rights. No kidding! So, ah, no. Use your imagination!
I think I found the process something like Goldilocks may have felt. Not too hot, not too cold, etc. So, perfection was my downfall, but I still got an idea of what I was looking for. The images are in my head, but I'll probably not be making a collage any time soon.
How visual are you? Do you write while having pictures posted around you for inspiration? If so, how much time do you spend looking for those pictures and is it, in your opinion, time well spent?


  1. Wow, what a great question, but it's one with a varied answer. Obviously you know that I'm a picture person. I do love my pictures. For my latest wip, Yours for Eternity, I knew exactly who would play my hero. But I was unsure of my heroine. I had an idea of what I wanted her to look like, but it took me close to two hours to look through pictures and decide. As far as the setting, again I knew what I wanted so it didn't take long.

    To me, I think pictures are worth a thousand words. And when you get several together they are worth a lot more. I've never been to the Middle East, so I feel the best way for me to capture the culture with words is to experience that culture as best I can.

    When I wrote BtH, I originally had a scene depicting the dungeons of Edinburgh Castle. Again, I had never been there so I did the best I could with what resources were available (mostly online pictures). When a critique partner read it she was amazed that I had never been there. So yes, to me, getting pictures are worth the time.

  2. Yes, you are a picture person, but from what I see on your blog, it is definitely time well spent. :) The pictures are an integral part of your plotting.

    I've never really plotted extensively in the very beginning. And yes, it does come back to bite me. But I do want a few pictures for the scenes as I'm working on them. And I realized from a comment on the Revenge blog that it's not just inspirational, but sometimes essential to have pictures. An interior shot helps me to remember where the windows and furniture are!


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