It’s your turn. Look at this photo from all angles. Look at the color, the light, the shadows, the textures. What scenes does it bring to mind, what emotions? Come up with five writing prompts based on this photo. Save them in a running list of writing prompts either on your computer desktop or on a piece of paper you keep at your writing space. Better yet, type them in the Comments section below and share your inspiration with others!
It’s a late summer day at sunset. What is (or was) in your character’s glass? Does it matter to your scene? It might if she’s rolling the last sip of wine around in her mouth while mentally replaying and processing a conversation or argument from earlier in the day.
Today, use a common, potentially-mundane fact like a beverage to illuminate part of your character’s personality.
Get your character’s hands dirty today. Describe the feel of the dirt in the gardener’s hands, the dough between the fingers of the baker, the wet clay in the hands of the artist. This might relate to your character’s hobby or something he’s cooking, or maybe it’s a way to add texture to a scene you’ve already begun.
Stretch your ability to describe visual appearances today. Using the photo above–or any other photo with contrasting textures and colors–spend 10 minutes freewriting about the temperatures, moods, and emotions their appearance brings to mind. Don’t worry about it making sense or sounding great–just write! When you’re done, set it aside for a while. Revisit it tomorrow with fresh eyes. Do you like the sound of any phrases or descriptions you came up with? Share them here in the comment section.
Does your character need a hobby? Whether he just happens to have plans with his golfing buddies whenever his wife’s family is in town or would prefer staying at home reading classic Russian literature to socializing with friends, your character’s hobbies can say a lot about his personality. Make a list of hobbies your character might enjoy. Could any of them further the story and deepen your characterization?
Consider twilight. What feelings and moods come to mind? Do they differ if you place yourself in Paris’ bustling Place de l’OpÃ©ra or at a remote Eastern Washington cabin surrounded by trees and no electricity? Tell a story that takes place at twilight, using the setting of your choice. Or, if you’re writing a novel, could thinking about twilight in this way add color and texture to a chapter that otherwise seems stalled?