Writing Tips | The Story Elves - Help with writing, editing, illustrating and designing your own stories

- Tip -

See pictures when you write

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”  This is a saying.

A saying that could well irk a writer!

A writer might storm up to a painter and launch a loud debate.  Ha!  A thousand words!  I can tell that story in 100 words!  On second thought, I will do it in 50!

Instead of taking sides, let us discuss a curious truth:  words create pictures.

Think back to when you last read a page in a story.  We don’t generally remember the words spelled out on the page in black ink.  We remember pictures of the characters and what they were said to be doing.

Our minds make pictures out of words.

This is a very important fact to ponder when we write stories.  Our words will end up creating pictures in someone else’s mind!  100 well-chosen words might create a dramatic, vivid picture.  1,000 poorly chosen words might create a gallery of blurry and drab pictures.  But, either way, readers will always make pictures from words.

Should we peek at the pictures our words are creating?  Absolutely!

Should we presume that a reader will see something in the picture if we did not write it in words?  Best not to.

New idea:  As you write, lay down your pencil and occasionally consider the picture (or pictures) your words are making.  Hang these pictures on the wall in your mind and see if they are telling the right story.

Think about where the absence of words may have left a picture blank.  Also look for places where poorly chosen words put something into the picture that does not fit or belong.  Writers can add and take away words so that the pictures become exactly what we intend them to be.

And remember that writers and painters both make pictures…

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The Story Elves - Help with writing, editing, illustrating and designing your own stories