Using Pictures and Videos to Write Fiction

First, let me start by saying this post is overdue. I meant to have it written and ready for you to read two weeks ago. Unfortunately, though I became ill.

The week that I planned to write this post I ended up with nausea, abdominal pains, fatigue and low energy. Then the following week I couldn’t stay out of the bathroom, and the fatigue and low energy continued. I thought all of this might be related to a knot I discovered near my belly button a couple of months ago, so I decided I’d better stop ignoring the problem and call my doctor. The PA I saw scheduled an ultrasound of the abdomen to diagnose what she believes is a hernia. I now have a follow-up appointment for Monday to hear the results, and I pray it’s not serious.

Since I’m feeling better, I was able to write the post, so here it is…

Using Pictures to Write Fiction

In the beginning, I had a hard time understanding the “show don’t tell” writing rule. When I did finally learn the rule, sometimes I would get stuck on how to describe something (showing) so my readers could actually visualize the scene or character in my stories.

For instance, I knew what a messy room looked like, but I had trouble finding the words to describe it. When this happens, I’ll look through photos I’ve taken or search Google or photo galleries for pictures of whatever it is I want to describe. To give you an example using the picture below, instead of saying she was shocked when she entered her daughter’s room. It looked like a tornado had hit it! You would create more of an image in the reader’s mind by describing the scene like so: Her eyes were as big as saucers when she entered her daughter’s room. Clothes littered the bedroom floor and hung out of open dresser drawers.

Messy room - using pictures to write fiction
Photo credit: Rubbermaid Products

Whether it’s a scene, place, person or etc. you’re trying to describe, pictures really help you paint the picture for your readers, so to speak.

Using Videos to Write Fiction

Videos help you describe a character’s actions. Let’s say, for example, your character had a little too much to drink at a social gathering, party or bar and you’re not sure how a drunk acts. No problem, head over to YouTube to search for videos of drunks. By the time you watch a few videos of a drunk male or female, you should be able to describe it in words.

Have you ever used pictures or videos when you got stuck on how to describe a character, scene, a character’s actions, place or etc.? What tips can you share with writers to help them “show” instead of “tell?” Sound off in the comments below.

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