Friday, February 23, 2018

One Photograph is Worth 80,000 Creative Words

Posted by: Maureen

By Maureen L. Bonatch

I love photographs, just not taking them. It seems that everyone is taking tons of pictures of everything these days. Whether it’s for social media, or their own collection, people seem to have a huge assortment of photographs. Everyone that is, except me.

While other people are Snapchatting and filling their Groovebooks and Instagram feed, I haven’t taken a picture in weeks. Often I realize with regret at the end of a celebration, or a holiday, that I forgot to take any pictures. Luckily, I have family members who are snap happy and I can copy their photographs so I have some of those memories to reflect back on.

Pictures That Stir the Imagination

I don’t have a huge collection of pictures, but I tend to believe that quality is better than quantity. When I say quality, I’m not talking about professional photographs that show the perfect angle, I’m talking about the ones that stir my creative imagination.

Usually my stories start with a title, or the first line and I go from there. But often while I’m writing the story, I come across something in reality that belongs in my story. How’d that get there?

My hubby has gotten accustomed to my abrupt stops while we are walking or bicycling. I pull out my phone and take a couple pictures (of what sometimes he mentions are the oddest things). I’ll stop and stare, slack jawed as I wonder how the settings of my story showed up unexpectedly, or I begin writing the story in my mind as a plot twist unwinds.

Going to Grandma Must Die’s Library

My Inspiration for GRANDMA MUST DIE
If you read GRANDMA MUST DIE, you’d know that the old churches were turned into libraries for banned books. 

I didn’t know this either while I was writing the story, until I came across the one where Carman, my heroine, worked. Imagine my surprise to see it rising up near the trail where we bicycle. I expanded details, and wrote many chapters while staring at this image. 

Since I realized this key setting detail in my book, I’ve since begun capturing photos of old and unusual churches for future books in the story. The hubs doesn’t blink an eye anymore when I stop and say, “Wait, I need a picture. That’s in my story.”

Care to Visit This Graveyard?

Inspiration for EVIL SPEAKS SOFTLY
This picture was given to me by someone a year or so before I wrote EVIL SPEAKS SOFTLY (she said it reminded her of my books). 

At the time, I knew there was a story behind it. I just didn’t know what it was. 

While writing the story in my panster way (By the seat of my pants. That way I get to find out what happens as the story unfolds too.) I realized just where this picture came into the story. It added a level of creepiness to this story that I hadn’t expected, but it was just what the story needed. It was the missing piece.
Evil Speaks Softly

Not Your Usual Cabin in The Woods

This was, by far, the creepiest old run-down building we’d ever come across while bicycling—and it ended up having a key place in Book 2 of The Enchantlings, NOT A CHANCE. 

I couldn’t wait to put it in the
story. My hubby, being the braver sort of the two of us, went inside and took more photos for me. They became the inspiration for my vivid imagination to further detail just what happened behind the closed doors of that dilapidated building from the days of the railroads.

I don't have a picture of the book to share, yet. It's still being written.

So, no. I don’t take many pictures. But I do enjoy the ones that I have. Because that one picture is worth more than 1,000 words, in fact, it’s worth more like 80,000 words. 

Do Your Photographs Tell a Story?

Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter

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