Skip to main content

Writing in 140: Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words (or More)

I spend a great deal of time going around the town, taking pictures of things that fascinate me. I also like using pictures to jump-start my writing, especially when a lull finds me. When a lull finds you, you can go take your own pictures, or you can scour the Internet, newspapers, magazines, etc. and find pictures that strike you—whether for their setting, for the people in the picture, for the colors, etc. Ask yourself, "How can this picture spark a story?" Think about character, setting, detail, description, conflict, etc., and how these storytelling components can resonate from one single image. It can help jog your mind back to writing as an exercise, or it can help you flow right into a new story.

Have you used photographs to help you generate story ideas?

Writing in 140 is my attempt to say something somewhat relevant about writing in 140 words or less.

Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator. She has published both creatively and academically, and her debut solo novel, Death at the Double Inkwell is now available for purchase. Shon also interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her official website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment. Currently, Shon is busy editing, promoting her debut project, writing screenplays, and pursuing her Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University.

Bookmark and Share


  1. I've never used a photograph to inspire a story, but I've certainly used them to help flesh out descriptions of settings or characters. Thank heaven for Google images!

  2. I agree, Elspeth, :-) I use Google images a LOT to just check out images and let my mind wander.

  3. When looking for inspiration, I usually turn to Flickr. If I'm just searching for random inspiration, I rely on the interesting pictures feature through the Explore tab. If I'm looking for specific inspiration, I turn to word searches. Not only does it help my descriptions to have a photo right there in front of me, but it can also help me in creating a mood or writing about a place I've never been.

  4. I changed a villain's description in Killer Career because of a photo I saw at
    Morgan Mandel


Post a Comment

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. If a glitch is preventing you from commenting, visit our Facebook page and drop your wise words there: Blood-Red Pencil on Facebook