Aside from all the stories I want to write this year, my big project is a 365 photo project. For anyone not familiar with this type of project, it’s a year long challenge (hence the 365) to take a photograph every day with the aim of becoming a better photographer. There are twenty-odd people in the group, all working within the limitations of the iPhone.
It’s not so very far from writing in some respects because most good photographs (aside from being technically spot on) have an element of storytelling. For me, the photo challenge is the ideal combination of passions, partly because I’ve always liked using photo prompts to kickstart stories. Arriana’s Trial started out as a short story written in one sitting from a photo of a woman paddling in a stream, a Unicorn at her side. Through revision and expansion it emerged as the whimsical fairytale you can read today.
Finding the Story
Great photographs stimulate everyone’s imagination, whether it’s a stark urban capture or a stunning sunset over the mountains. An artist might reach for a paintbrush, an interior designer might imagine a new decor theme, or a travel addict might start planning their next trip.
For a writer, great photographs cause a storytelling itch it’s impossible to ignore.
- Who are the people?
- What are they doing?
- Why are they there?
- What are they thinking?
- What trouble are they in?
- How will they solve their problem?
Questions tumble over each other in a frenzied quest for answers. At the same time a kind of fizz happens in the brain. It sounds almost ridiculous, but writers will know what I’m talking about. It’s a quickening, a sense of creative urgency and excitement.
The more questions, the stronger the fizz, the better the hidden or suggested story is likely to be.
Writer’s Block Begone
Through my 365 photo project, I have more story ideas than I could write in a lifetime, and it’s only February.
Do you write? Do you like finding stories in photos? If you do, or if you’ve never tried but fancy having a go, you might be interested in my latest writing ‘how to’ ebook project. Join my email list to be first to hear more.
In the meantime, this is probably not the last I’ll write here about storytelling and photos – I might even share some stories (just with my list members) that come from photos during this year.