Vanessa Di Gregorio
Whenever we read, our imagination runs wild; and everything we see is thanks to the writer. Large trees loom ominously over a protagonist’s head; or the sea churns angrily, throwing a stowaway violently to and fro on a pirate ship. Tall, imposingly beautiful castles tower over someone as their horse’s hooves clatter on the cobblestones before coming to a halt. Perhaps you are on a ship, flying through space, with nothing but the stars and the glow from the controls in your cabin surrounding you. White silk gloves could be covering a young woman’s arm, matching the white silk detailing on her crimson petticoat; her hair tall and majestic, her eyes dark and mischievous.
But have you ever found yourself running into writers block? It’s happened to all of us. Now, maybe this is because I’m a visual person, having been an art student for a number of years, but I find that images can really inspire me. Sure, putting down your manuscript and picking up another book is a great way of finding inspiration. Other people swear in just writing, even if faced with writers block; that eventually, after writing a bunch of nonsense, it will suddenly just appear like a flash. Others yet will grab their ipod and listen to music, to both the melodies and the lyrics. Some will watch movies and tv shows to get their inspiration, be it from a character, or a setting, or an expression. And there are those who will do a mixture of these things.
The truth is, sometimes we just exhaust ourselves. Take the time to fill up your head with anything inspirational; maybe writing poetry gets those juices flowing. Maybe painting does. Maybe talking a walk in a park, or an art gallery, or even playing on your PS3 helps; or maybe drinking your coffee in a cafe while watching people does (hey… us writers are observers by nature!). Do what you love to do.
Me? Well, I love to look at art. Sure, I also love to paint; but as an artist, I know that I can exhaust myself that way as well. Other artists can really inspire me. Images can speak volumes; cliché, I know, but it’s absolutely true. Colours, perspectives, expressions, sharpness, composition; all of these can affect how an image appears, and how it, in turn, makes you feel. The feelings an image can evoke can become your inspiration.
Having trouble with a romantic scene? Look at a romantic photo, or watch a romantic movie; maybe read a romantic book, or listen to a romantic song. Having trouble seeing the world from a child’s P.O.V.? Look at childhood photos.
For me, writing prose is similar to writing poetry. Sure, I’m not as flowery, but I try to choose words to help readers visualize. Showing, not telling. Writing is an art; think of yourselves as artists.
I’ve decided to show you some of my favorite images that I’ve collected over the years. None of this is my own work; they all belong to other artists (all of whom are on deviantART). But something about these images speak to me. They make me want to write. And I have to admit, I’m a bit curious too! Do any of these images make you feel inspired? Do they evoke feelings? Perhaps even create scenes or moods for future works?
What do you turn to for inspiration? Do any of these images make you want to write? (Be honest!) And is there one image that speaks to you more than others?
Vanessa is an intern at The Rights Factory, a literary agency located in Toronto. She is also taking courses in a publishing program, and is trying to figure out where in the world of publishing she wants to end up in. Currently, she is working on a YA fantasy novel and a Children’s non-fiction series.