Finding visual inspiration in magazines can be a great help to your writing. We all have images in our heads of our characters and settings.Flicking through magazines can help to clarify those images and help us get a sharper picture of the people and places we’re writing about.

Try spending some time thumbing through some old magazines and see what jumps out at you. My current novel is set on a horse property so I’ve been having a great old time finding pictures of properties complete with stables, horses roaming around the paddocks and old timber houses in my daughter’s Horse Deals mags.To find the characters I’ve been scouring the pages of Country Style and Coast – anything with a rural feel. When a picture jumps out at me I grab the scissors and cut and paste into a dedicated scrapbook. It’s almost impossible to find the exact replica of the image you have in your head but you can often find similarities – the right hair, smile, eyes or clothing.

Google images can be another great source of inspiration as can Flickr. You can request permission from Flickr or the photographers who have shared their photos to use them or if you just want to look at them you can browse by using the Search tool.

Compiling a scrapbook of images and ideas is a great way to store your visuals. If you’re into drawing – or even if you’re not – you can do rough sketches of your characters, their homes, the town where they live, favourite restaurants – anywhere that features in the scenes of your book. If you’re writing a memoir, a scrapbook can be a useful way of compiling the pictures and memorabilia you are referencing in your story. You can paste photos straight in and jot notes around them on the page. Drawing maps of fictional places can also help you get your bearings and help you get the complete picture of a place you have created.

Taking your own photos is another great way to capture images. Take yourself off on an expedition and click whatever seems to inspire you. Add the photos to your scrapbook or display them on a noticeboard above your writing space. The more pictures you add to your collage the better.You can create a hwole world of images right there where you write. It’s a great way of entering straight into your story space. Swap them around as the need arises.

The photos on this page are some I took of our horses a while ago and use for inspiration whenever I’m writing.

Where do you get your visual inspiration from?

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