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Use visuals to inspire your words

It begins with a rough idea, born from an event based in reality or an incident set in your imagination. And then, with careful thought and research—hours spent wondering how the plot can progress, what twists can be played out, and how the ending can resolve everything—a story is written. 

Writing is an exciting process, no doubt about that. But, at times, it can also be draining, especially if, in the middle of it all, you’re faced with the dreaded writer’s block. In those moments, it can be hard to see the way forward and you may feel like you’ll never make it to the end. 

Creating five visuals could help you through, making every writing session inspiring. 

Character Sketches

We all know what our characters look like. In our heads, they are fully-fleshed individuals and seeing them face-to-face, in the form of a rough sketch, can be inspiring. 

It doesn’t matter how well you can draw, if you don’t know how to form a nose or eyes come out wonky. What’s important is the process of using your imagination to build upon your creations. At times, while drawing, you’ll recognise the need for a new detail about a character, or you’ll find it easier to write about them when they’re right in front of you. 

If you’re not up for drawing, search online or in a magazine for a face to fit your narrative. 

Maps

Rarely does a story exist in a vacuum; there is almost always a place where a majority of events take place. Whether it’s real or fictional, it’s great to have a map which orients you and your characters in your story. Creating a map can be fun and it doesn’t have to be very detailed. 

You may want to create floorplans. Whether the story is taking place on board a ship or inside a grocery shop, it helps to imagine how your character might navigate the space. You don’t need to be an architect to do a great job of this but, if you are, it’s a bonus. 

Connectors

Flowcharts or mind maps can be useful ways to show the connections between characters and events. You can list key details, for examples ages and traits, next to each.

Timelines  

A timeline could give you a quick overview of events, show you how they are connected and build upon each other. Whenever you’re stuck, it’ll help you see what’s next.  

Covers

Visualisation can be powerful. Creating a cover for your book and imagining holding the printed version in your hands can be motivational. It’s also a great way to experiment with titles to see which best fits your story. 

You can draw your cover by hand, or use an app such as Canva. You can choose the colour scheme, decide on a font, do anything you want with your hypothetical cover, and it’ll give you a unique, objective perspective of your story, helping guide you on direction. 

Whenever you need inspiration, turn to the visuals you’ve created and they’ll be there to help you see the way forward. There’s always a way through. 

About Srijani Ganguly

Srijani Ganguly is a former journalist with India Today Group and a current writer for CBR.com. She holds editorial positions in Talking Writing and Vestal Review, and volunteers as a reader for the publishing house, Sandstone Press. Her short stories have appeared in Honest Ulsterman, Fairlight Books, Silver Apples Magazine, and other literary journals.

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