Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Photograph is Worth, Well, You Know

Have you seen the blog Dear Photograph? Contributors return to the scenes of old family photographs and take new pictures there.  In some cases they jot down what's changed in their lives or what they've learned in the interim. I love the concept, but I'm not crazy about the execution; the way the photos are framed (original images held by hand in front of updated location), it's almost impossible to tell whether it's the same place.

The site got me thinking about my WIP. For some reason I decided to set the story in a neighboring California town I've never been to. This was not terribly smart of me, but hey, at least I'm not alone in this manuever.

Stephenie Meyer famously set her Twilight series in Forks, Washington, before having set foot there. Rumor has it she Googled "rainiest town" or something and got Forks. In fact, Forks was apparently the original title for Twilight. (I'm picturing a fork in an apple for that first cover. Anyone else?) Now the Chamber of Commerce there has built an entire tourist industry around the books.

After I get my act together, I plan to hop on the freeway, visit my WIP's location and take a bunch of photographs for later use, so I can get a feel for the place as I write. I may call the town something different, but I'd like it to be drawn from reality.

Have you ever used photographs to help you with descriptions, setting and mood?


  1. I always use photographs when I'm brainstorming ideas for my stories - for settings; for characters; for, well, everything, really! Some are my own, some I find by Googling or in books, but wherever they come from, I wouldn't be able to get started without them.

    Google Street View is also awesome for exploring places if you can't get to them! I've been on several trips around various cities for my WIP without ever having to leave the comfort of my sofa.

  2. Great idea! And pictures ALWAYS inspire my WIPs. In fact, every story idea I've ever had has been inspired by something visual. That's just the way my muse gets its jolt.

    Have fun on that road trip! You should post the pics here once you go so we can see your book's locale. :)

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  4. Okay, Halloween is playing weird tricks on me today. I came over and saw that my comment wasn't up (the one I left yesterday) so I put it up again. Then low and behold, it appeared, both yesterday's and today's. So I took one of them off. HEH. Trick or Treat! ;)