- Books for writers
- FAQ: I’m a new writer: which book should I read first?
- FREE Nail Your Novel Instant Fix: 100 Tips For Fascinating Characters
- My writing process: the picture tour
- Nail Your Novel: A Companion Workbook
- Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books and how you can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence
- Reviews of Nail Your Novel
- Who’s tweeting about Nail Your Novel …
- Writing Characters Who’ll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel
- Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart: Nail Your Novel
- Email me
Posts Tagged photographs
The strangers in our photos are the people we aren’t meant to notice. People we tune out. I never gave them a thought until I read about the British artist Polly Morgan, who, when she was a kid, went through family photos, cut out the walk-ons and made a gallery of them on her bedroom wall.
I love this idea. All these anonymous people, abundant as traffic and trees, appearing accidentally in our private photos.
Who were they? While Dave and I walked around the museum, the lady with the handbag was on her own mission. She had a chain of events that brought her to this place and she went on to do something else afterwards. What was it?
A lot of writers talk about the inspiration they get from overhearing conversations, but it seems to me that a picture is worth a thousand eavesdropped words. And our photo collections are full of them. The person you didn’t intend to take a picture of is waiting to have their story told.
This is a fun exercise on its own but it can also be useful for our novels. When we’re writing, we often find we have gaps in our story world. Sometimes we need a ‘purposeful nothing’ for a character to do when they go for a think, or a route they can take to the gym or work. Insignificant, low-key stuff, but if it’s not there the world of the story doesn’t feel real. The characters live in a void like an undecorated film set.
In daily life, we get used to tuning things out, which is perhaps why writers have to make a special effort to flesh out a world. Who’s that in the distance, sitting on a bench in a square in Fontainebleau, while I’m taking a photo of Dave? Did she need to think of a place to meet her best friend for a heart to heart?
So I’m ending this post with an exercise. Either tell me how you find insignificant but useful locations, or write a little piece about the strangers in the pictures here. Or do this with a pic of your own on your blog, link to it here – and we’ll all come and see. (That’s a blog hop, isn’t it? Never done one before.) Let the fun begin…
art, artists, authors, blog hop, bluebell railway, British artist, creating a story world, deepen your story, Depth & Heart, eavesdropping, having ideas, heart to heart, how to write a novel, Inspirations Scrapbook, My Memories of a Future Life, peripheral characters, photo collections, photographs, photography, photos, pictures, Polly Morgan, publishing, railway museum, Roz Morris, story prompt, unblocking, vacation, writer's block, writing, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel, writing life, Writing Plots With Drama, writing prompt
- The accidental way to build a writing career – interview at @AnnalisaCrawf November 16, 2021
- Can we reclaim the term ‘literary fiction’? A conversation with Imogen Clark @ImogenClark November 13, 2021
- What’s literary fiction and how do you sell it? Interview on the Self-Publishing Show @SelfPubForm October 24, 2021
- How I made my writing career – award-winning novelist and short story writer Ann S Epstein @asewovenwords October 20, 2021
- Do I want to make a career writing fiction? A conversation October 3, 2021
- Why should anybody read about your life? The 7 Ss for writing a memoir with universal appeal September 17, 2021
- Your first pages – 5 more book openings critiqued at @Litopia by literary agent @agentpete , reader @kaylie_finn and me! September 9, 2021