Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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September 1, 2010

Using Images To Enrich Your Story

By Charlotte Carter

Both Linda Seger (Creating Unforgettable Characters) and Robert McKee (Story) talk about using Image Clusters and Image Systems. Here’s my take on using images.

1. Use images that represent the individual’s character or his values. A wealthy heroine may well wear designer jeans, drive a BMW and have beautifully manicured nails. In contrast, a firefighter is likely to think and talk using words like flash over, combustion and nozzle man.

The images and details you choose help to define the character.

2. Use images from the physical world to support the overall theme of your story. For instance, in a story set in the bayou, any number of water images might be used: creek running into the bayou, tap water, water fall, shower. In the movie Witness images of wheat were repeated as grain, bullets hidden in a flour canister, and finally the villain killed in a grain silo.

These images are subliminal and your reader’s experience will be richer for them.

3. Use images to represent the relationship between the hero and heroine. In one of my books, the h/h were metaphorically unable to see each other clearly until the end of the story. They saw the other’s reflection in a mirror and the chrome fender of a car. They stood in half moonlight and half darkness, and saw each other in through flickering candlelight. Finally, when they acknowledged their love, they stood together in the sunlight.

No need to be heavy handed using images but the added layer will make your story shine. Besides, it’s fun to do stuff like this.

Charlotte Carter
Books that leave you smiling
from Love Inspired
Montana Hearts, 12/10
Big Sky Reunion, 5/11
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