A Drift of Quills – Artsy Writing

We’re talking about illustration today. Art. Pictures. Those images that inspire story. I’ve said before that I write from pictures in my head. I work with illustrators and doodlers who have sketched rock basilisks, arcus vulturesUrodela and the Kingdom Above the Sun, Aeola. I’ve seen gorgeous, digitally painted pictures of the Valley of Fire, dragons, Syteless Peak, and Queen Leonatrix. (Check out more under Illustration, or Concept Sketches).

But before I talk about a particular piece that I love, allow me to direct you to my fellow Quill writers, who have interesting perspectives on how images interact with the writing process…

Robin Lythgoe

Author of As the Crow Flies

Robin’s Website

I have a huuuuge collection of images. I will never run out of inspiration from that quarter! I write primarily fantasy, but that doesn’t stop me from seeing a science fiction style image and diving off the cliff of “What If…” That happened recently with the short story “Sixes” that I wrote for the Quills’ flash fiction challenge.

In my story, Elran’s Journey, the main character is the younger son of highly regarded and respected members of the Peerage. In the eyes of society, he has everything any boy could or should want.

Patricia Reding

Author of Oathtaker

Patricia’s Website

It’s interesting how vivid are the pictures in my mind of things I write about, yet how terribly difficult it is to find photographs of those people, places and things, to show others.

Readers of Oathtaker know that early on, the twins, Reigna (derived from the word, “reign”) and Eden, are born. For me, this picture shows a bit of what I had in mind…

Parker Broaddus

Author of  A Hero’s Curse

Parker’s Website…oh wait. You’re already here.

There are several images and fan art pieces that I really enjoy and that even inspire the way I write. Many deal with Essie Brightsday herself, the central character of both A Hero’s Curse and Nightrage Rising. Essie Brightsday is a 12-year-old blind girl who has a certain amount of gumption, but still wrestles to find her place in the world. The way artists and illustrators have rendered Essie is both interesting and inspiring.

Interesting, as each image reveals something new about both the artist and the character, and inspiring in that I get to discover new aspects to a character I created. In that respect, I love images and illustration. It adds to the story in new and unexpected ways. I get to interact with interpretations I didn’t think of.

I think there’s an aspect of control here that could be difficult for some writers to give up. If I allow someone else to draw a character, thereby bringing some aspect of their own creativity and interpretation to the character, aren’t I giving up a part of this character? I’m essentially letting someone else into the creative process!

It’s true. I don’t thing there’s any way around it. Allowing someone else to illustrate and draw characters or images from your world is allowing them in on the creative process. But even allowing someone to read your story is allowing them to bring their interpretation and creativity to the table. And don’t we as authors want that interaction? Don’t we want readers to make the story their own? To inhabit the worlds and cherish and empathize with our characters?

So whether illustrating or acting or narrating or reading, the story is interpreted, and advanced, (and sometimes in unexpected ways). And as an author, that is something to love.

What about you? How do illustrations, images or pictures inspire your writing? Or, what about something that misinterprets your character or story? How do you protect your characters and story from the misinterpretation caused by someone else creatively advancing your story where you never intended?


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One Response to A Drift of Quills – Artsy Writing

  1. Yes, it is always interesting to learn how others imagine our characters and stories. Thank you for sharing, Parker!

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