Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How To Use a Picture Prompt Exercise

So many writers claim they have a problem finding story ideas. I've often responded to that with Look around you. Stories are everywhere. The trick is to use every ounce of creativity in your mind to find them. 

I've often given you picture prompts to help you find story ideas. Today, I have three pictures for you. Three great possibilities for a new story to write. You can study the picture. You can look at it all day and the story might not appear for you. To help it along, you must ask yourself some questions. 

In the first picture, ask yourself the following:  What time of day is it? Who is in the lighthouse? What is their job? What is happening in their personal life to distract them from keeping watch? Where is the lighthouse? Who else might come to visit the lighthouse? Are they friend or foe? Is there danger in the form of a storm coming? 

It's a simple picture. Asking yourself questions like those I've given you is what will help you create a story. You can also use the What if...approach. What if the lighthouse keeper is an old man having a heart attack? What if a serial killer approaches as the lighthouse keeper is fixing supper? What if an unexpected storm approaches? 

Now, let's go on to the next picture.

I love this picture. Ask yourself who is on the ferris wheel? Who is with them? Are they happy or are they angry? Where is the ferris wheel? What does the church steeple in the background have to do with the people on the ferris wheel? Who is operating the ride? Are they normal or insane? Keep the questions coming until a story possibility shows itself.

And finally, this last picture. The first two had no people in the picture. This one is filled with children and a dog. Ask yourself these questions and any others you come up with. Are the children related? Where do they live? Why do they look rather disheveled? Where are they going? Are they running away from home? Are they looking for help with a disaster left behind? Keep the questions coming until you are ready to write.

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