1. BadGrammar
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    BadGrammar Member

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    Descriptive writing from a picture

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by BadGrammar, Mar 24, 2009.

    I thought I might share a trick I just started using.

    usually when I write, I find a picture on the internet that looks something like what the story in my mind looks like. for there I try to describe everything in the picture. it helps keep a certain perspective, and you can look at the things in the picture and more easily see what you want to draw your readers "eye" to.

    well this is all well and good, but I usually have 7 or 8 windows open with multiple tabs; reading forums, watching youtube... so on. and I lose focus when I flip between Word and a random google pic. so I get a billiant idea.

    I save the pic and paste it right onto the document I'm writing.


    sometimes I amaze myself.


    anyway, I hope this helps someone out there.
     
  2. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    That is actually a pretty good idea. Thanks! Perhaps what would work better for me is to get a lot of preselected pictures and put them in a folder. I would probably get too distracted if I had to look on the internet. I'd probably find some photographer's site and be like OMG WOW and forget all about poor ol' Microsoft Word.
     
  3. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    My problem is finding the words, sometimes, for what I am trying to describe, even if I am looking at it.

    How does one solve that problem?? :meh:
     
  4. BadGrammar
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    BadGrammar Member

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    what I do; is describe everything in the simplest terms.

    instead of saying "the SUV rolled gracefully to a stop, gravel crunching between the tire tread"

    I would say something like "the SUV stops. main character unloads the dead hooker from the trunk. the cocaine starts wearing off."


    I think it's important to oversimplify everything when you're in the process of getting the idea on paper. then come back and give it more description when you have a better idea of what you want you're story to sound like.

    also, its not very productive to spend 2 hours writing 4 highly descriptive paragraphs, when you could get in a whole chapter of rough story, then go back and give it description later (which is always easier when you already have something on paper)
     
  5. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    While I agree with keeping things simple, I think the example you gave is entirely too simple. I liked the first example sentence, though. That's more like how I write: simple, but perhaps just complex enough to stump a fifth grader now and then. :p
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    One picture is worth a thousand words, so I suppose you should be able to get about four pages of inspiration from it. But then what?
     
  7. Friz
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    Friz New Member

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    Hmmm. Internet. Good idea. What I usually do is go for a walk in the forest then just sit in the most picturesque spot I can find and start writing what I see. But then I guess I might be a bit old-school.
     
  8. BadGrammar
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    BadGrammar Member

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    yeah, well whatever works. I was always told to do this as a writing "exercise" but I figured that if I could find a picture that matched what was going on in my head, I could find a more practical application for it.
     
  9. BadGrammar
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    BadGrammar Member

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    at that point hope that you have enough creative momentum to keep you going. if not; NEXT PIC
     
  10. BadGrammar
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    BadGrammar Member

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    true. just an example though.

    I guess what I mean is, write down everything in your own words. if you cant describe something properly, just write down the simple version like in my example, and continue onto something your mind can digest. then worry about the grammar/flow/description once you get your main idea out there.


    think of it as a drawing.. or a painting if you will, your preference.

    first you rough it out, a base sketch. basic shapes, scribble hair, rough lines.

    then you get out your eraser and you clean it up some, straighten the lines, add detail

    then you get to the finer details.

    repeat the last two steps until its good enough that you're happy with it, or go crazy and hang yourself if your standards are too high.
     
  11. Nervous1st
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    Nervous1st Senior Member

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    I agree. I write the 'simple' version and then amend later. Otherwise I do exactly this.... realise I have just spent 2 hours writing 4 paragraphs. And while I enjoy doing this and my writing, for the most part is to the best of my ability, I would like to see it finished in my lifetime.

    If using pictures works for you, that's a great idea. For me, I close my eyes, as my character and write what I experience in my mind.
     
  12. BadGrammar
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    BadGrammar Member

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    yeah, thats a good idea too. I mean, even with pictures and other tricks.. you still have to understand what its like to BE your character. it helps to be schizophrenic
     
  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I always liked the qoute (I can never remeber who said it) "A picture is worth a thousand words; but a good writer always knows which ones to use."
     
  14. traffic101
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    traffic101 Member

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    Yes this is a great creative writing exercise. I totally need to do this sometimes when I create a character or a scene. Otherwise I pick a place I know of, and describe it from memory.
     

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