How many times have we heard the old age, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words? Perhaps, it is because it is true. When we see a picture, our minds instantly want to create a backstory. You can use this technique to help children write and inspire their imaginations.

Pictures Surround Us

Pictures can be found everywhere. They are in books, magazines, the internet, photographs, artwork…the list is endless. The idea is to present a child with a picture and ask them what they see. Get them to be as expressive as possible in their details. Once they begin brainstorming, encourage them to write those ideas down. When their ideas are on paper, they can start formulating a more complex written backstory. This is an easy method to help children begin to develop their writing skills with more depth. Do they see a bird in the tree? What color are the leaves of the tree? Are they cast in shadow or light? Are they swaying to a breeze or is it a still day?  These are small specks of detail in a much larger picture.

Writers Can Use Pictures to Inspire Their Own Writing

I love using pictures to inspire my writing. I often create a focal picture when I begin writing my children’s books. When I come up with the premise of a story, I will create a general outline. However, as it develops, I always come across one strong image in my mind. Sometimes it will be the cover of the book or it might be an interior illustration. Whichever it is, I soon send out a detailed description of the picture to my illustrator. I then use the finished illustration as my inspiration. If my story wanders too far, or I come across writer’s block, I can study the picture to get me back on track and writing again.

What I see when I look at this picture…

The white, cotton candy clouds stood out in the vibrant blue sky. It was a still day, with little to no wind. The green, multi-color leaves of the large oak trees barely moved against the whisper of air that floated through the branches.

Below the protective trees, a golden puppy pranced upon a pile of scattered books. Its ears pricked attentively listening to the sounds around him, while his tail swished happily back and forth. Standing atop of a collection of books, he stared at the page of a red, book laid open. The pup appeared ready for adventure. It was almost as if he were waiting for someone to read him a story.

Exercise in Writing

Interested in trying this exercise with either a child or yourself? Download this worksheet and see what it inspires you to come up with…

HOW DO YOU USE PICTURES TO INSPIRE WRITING? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Or, share what you see when you look at the above picture. I would love to hear!