M. B. Weston’s Writing Diary: 02/02/15

Sometimes, a picture really is worth 1,000 words.

I love snow. However, I live in Naples, Florida, which means I don’t get much of it. During the winter, I like to change my computer desktop backgrounds to include some kind of snow slideshow. Right now, I’ve got some kind of “holiday lights” theme going on, which can basically means pictures of beautiful, snowy landscapes at night decorate my desktop.

While I was staring at my computer, I suddenly came up with an idea for a horror short story (or even a poem) when is saw this:


Basically, I came up with the idea of an ice fairy staring down at the town below. (To prevent spoilers, I will keep the rest of the story to myself.)

So tonight, I took a little break from Michael Lodestone the witch hunter and wrote a short story that will be about 500 words, which I hope will be featured in the paranormal/horror short-story collection that I will be finishing up right after I finish this urban fantasy pulp novella.

I love using pictures to stimulate story ideas. Who would have thought that a simple picture of a snow-covered valley at night would give me a horror story idea? It’s one of the reasons I keep pictures of landscapes on my phone and my desktop.

How about you? How do you get ideas flowing? Has a picture ever sparked a story for you?


About M. B. Weston

M. B. Weston is an award-winning fantasy, pulp, young adult, steampunk, and paranormal author. Her attention to procedure and detail gives her works an authentic gritty, military feel that takes an adventure tale to the level of a true page-turner. Weston’s writing attracts both fantasy and non-fantasy readers, and her audience ranges from upper-elementary students to adults. A gifted orator, Weston has been invited as a guest speaker to numerous writing and science fiction/fantasy panels at conventions across the US, including DragonCon, BabelCon, NecronomiCon, and Alabama Phoenix Festival. She has served on panels with such authors as Sherrilyn Kenyon, J. F. Lewis, Todd McCaffrey, and Jonathan Maberry. Weston has spoken to thousands of students and adults about the craft of writing and has been invited as the keynote speaker at youth camps and at several schools throughout the US.
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2 Responses to M. B. Weston’s Writing Diary: 02/02/15

  1. One of the tests I give my college students in Composition I has a dark picture on the last page. Using sensory imagery, I ask them to write a story based solely upon what they see in the picture (and what they don’t). This test is always fun to grade because each student comes up with completely different stories as they draw upon their imaginations. What one person sees in a picture is totally different from the next, and as most writers base their stories upon past events in their lives, the end results are amazing.

    Yes, I find that pictures are very helpful in writing fiction. What is difficult for many is to paint a picture with merely words. Show, don’t tell. For me, that’s the challenge I love about writing fiction. To completely pull a reader into the story so that they forget the outside world around them is the most successful thing a writer can do. One of my students says, “A book is the cheapest vacation you can take.” And she’s correct!

    Liked by 1 person

    • M. B. Weston says:

      Good points! Especially if the picture is high resolution. Some of the snow pictures I was looking at showed the detail down to the size of the snow flakes. That can really help writers “get into the scene.”

      To really get sensory details down, I have found I have to “go there.” I have to get inside the scene and experience the same thing my characters are experiencing. Detail in pictures really helps with that because it brings out things I might have forgotten about.

      Thank goodness for Google!


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