I like to cut and paste. I don’t mean on my computer. I mean actual scissors and sticky stuff.
In preparation for a writing class I’m teaching (Writing for Children II at UCSD Extension), I spent some time yesterday cutting pictures of people from magazines. I find that visual cues can be powerful triggers for creativity. Images can help concretize–which is not a word, but it should be–the vague wandering of one’s mind. Pictures and objects can help make abstract ideas and characters take a more concrete form.
I know this. I plan to teach this. And yet, I hadn’t thought to do this for my current WIP, aka “the thing that will not be tamed.”
But in cruising through the magazines, all of a sudden I saw a girl and thought, “Hey! That’s X.” And then I saw a phrase that I needed. And a picture of a place I’d been trying to make my characters visit. It was so golly gee exciting. It made me feel like maybe, just maybe, this really is going to be a story some day.
So. Maybe I need to take my own class. Or at least take my own advice. Maybe it’s even time to make a vision box.
Here’s one I made while writing MY BEST EVERYTHING. It’s a simple one, but it helped me believe in the story along the way.
Some of things included:
- Moon images, of course
- Bottles, more of course
- Lulu’s fortune: You will travel far and wide
- A game wheel for Truth or Dare
- Moonshiner Tim
- “Even a spill can be beautiful”
- Car keys, with key chain that reads For I know the plans I have for you. ~Jeremiah 29:11
- A rosary
- Cowboy hat
- Sea shells
- Rusty junk car
- Gold coins
- A recipe for a science experiment involving yeast and flying grapes
See it. Believe it.
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK