before selfies

Before there were selfies, photographers revealed themselves with subtle clues that perhaps even they were unaware of. Examine this photograph, and from the details - tangible and intangible - evoke the photographer. Who is this person on the other side of the lens? What is their relationship with the people in the photograph? How did they come to be the … Continue reading before selfies

insects sting

“Insects sting, not in malice, but because they want to live” Friedrich Nietzsche This is true about some people, making life poignant and circumstances precarious.  photo: Jon Sullivan If you want to render your characters with nuance, you might ask in what way they resemble insects. Complexity can be created in the simplest ways. Writing Prompt: Select an … Continue reading insects sting

origins of belief

Quarrelsome characters make stories interesting and unpredictable. And origin shapes perspective.    photo Steve Hillebrand U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Here is a docked research ship. Create two scientists with distinctive, opposing belief systems, and put them on the ship. Now show them in an interaction that is shaped by the friction between their perspectives. One grew up … Continue reading origins of belief


   Steve Hillebrand U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service There are many ways we can reveal who characters are without 'telling'. How someone lives, how they perceive themselves and others can be manifested in what they call home. Or in what they drive:  Writing Prompt: Who lives here and drives this car? Use the qualities of house … Continue reading reveals

setting character

Create a character through the observation of this setting. Look for aspects and qualities of this photograph that evoke who the person is, how they conduct themselves in their lives, what they desire, what they fear, how they see themselves, how others see them. There are infinite ways to communicate who a character is - we … Continue reading setting character

in fiction, who is it?

If you think you recognize yourself in my writing you’re wrong. It’s all in me. Some of our best material comes from life, and sometimes life gets the best of us. Everything in our writing reflects who we are as much as it reflects who we love, who hurts us, and what heals us. There … Continue reading in fiction, who is it?

what’s the story?

© Anikasalsera Sometimes a photograph can prompt a feeling that leads to a story you didn’t know you had in you. Take a look at this photograph and ask yourself: “who is there?” “what’s the story?” “what do I want my reader to believe as a result of reading this story?”.  Often when you … Continue reading what’s the story?