5 Visual Techniques To Bring Your Story To Life


We often ‘see’ our stories in our imagination – how a scene plays out, the weather outside our heroine’s window, face of our antagonist.

But, sometimes it helps to use visual techniques to help us write our stories, novels or screenplays.  These can help you have a better understanding, even bring you closer, to the story.

When you engage another sense, like sight, to your writing process and it may suggest ideas you hadn’t considered.

Taking your story off the page and out of a word-for-word linear structure can open up your creativity.

Here are five things you could try this week:

1.  Play With Patterns

An easy way to start is just to look at relationships and connections within your story. Draw your main character as a stick figure in the middle of the page – then all the other characters around him in a circle and use arrows or shapes to connect them or disconnect them. You can use this with themes or settings, in fact any element in your story.

2.  Pinning It

Another great way to curate or keep visual references for your story is on Pinterest – by creating themed boards. You can keep these hidden or share them with friends.  This site is great for character, clothing, setting or food references.

3.  Draw And Doodle

This is a visual trick I’ve used before to break writer’s block.  Take an A4 nature study book, with a blank page for every ruled page. On the blank page – draw whatever images come to mind. On the ruled page – jot down descriptions, fragments, or words you feel connect to the images on the opposite page.

4.  Fun With Scissors And Glue

Perhaps the most playful and tactile technique is to grab some cardboard, a pair of scissors, glue and old magazines, and cut out and paste images or phrases you think bring your story to life visually. Think of it as an imagination palette you can put up in your writing room. It may even motivate you to write each day when you see your characters and settings as soon as you step into the room.

5.  The Movie Theatre

For this technique, you don’t need pen or paper. Sit or lie in a dark room – maybe even the floor or your study or on the lawn at night – and close your eyes, or just look up at the sky or ceiling. Imagine your story playing out as a movie with the sound turned off, or as a moving painting. Just let the images come and float away. If afterwards, you remember a powerful image, write it down and try to use it in your story.

 by Anthony Ehlers

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. 5 Secret Tricks To Make Your Writing Stronger
  2. 3 Exercises To Help You Create The Flow From Scene To Sequel
  3. 4 Tips & Tricks To Help You Survive Your Outline

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.