|One of my workshop students with her image board.|
1. Search magazines or internet sites for photos for your story as a whole, a character you're struggling with, or your setting. Gather at least 20 photos. Don't overthink the process--sometimes you'll be attracted to an image without consciously knowing why. Choose it!
2. Arrange your images on a board or blank document. Place them in a way that's pleasing to your eye.
3. Squint at the image board. Using this analysis exercise, adapted from writer Sheila Asato of Monkey Bridge Arts, (www.monkeybridgearts.com), ask yourself these questions:
* Where does my eye travel through the images? Where do I begin and where do I end? Note these images: see if they relate to the beginning of your story and the possible ending.
* Close your eyes and open them, quickly look at your image board. Where does your eye land first? This image may relate to your book's "inner story," or its deeper meaning.
* Locate two images that contrast the most. They could be two pictures that look strange together, or one could be black and white while the other is color. This often refers to the point of highest tension in your story, the question that remains unanswered, or the unmet challenge your book speaks of.
* Look at the types of pictures you chose. What are they, mostly--images of people, places, animals, landscapes, buildings, the ocean, the sky, abstracts? How does this predominant type of image tell you something about your book's main focus, the aspect you feel most comfortable with?