Dark Fiction writers should turn to image collections on social media when suffering from a bout of writer’s block for a quick hit of inspiration.
You’re a Dark Fiction writer, sitting in your evil lair trying to come up with a story that will blow your readers minds with its spookiness and originality.
But the mood isn’t right. You just watched Zootopia the other day and are still hung up on the cutesy, thinly-veiled interspecies romance between Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde. You need to get back in the game fast.
What you need, my friend, is a top grade photo essay or image gallery to spark your imagination. I’m talking NASA Mission galleries, NGV art exhibitions and National Geographic photography collections. Potent stuff to give you the fix you need.
I remember during the first weeks of my undergrad, my creative writing tutor handed out random images ripped out from magazines and Art books. She told us to write a story based off four images. Miraculously for me, a pretty decent story came out of it.
Written prompts didn’t get through to me because they didn’t have the anchoring effect that images have.
Often as Dark Fiction writers (as well as any other genre writer really) we tend to visualise characters, places and things before we write them down, relying on our own creative capabilities and writing techniques to make them believable and authentic.
To give you a taste of this ‘anchoring effect’, below I have compiled an image gallery titled ‘Lonely Places’ designed to conjure up impressions of abandonment and mystery.
Where you inspired? Could you write a paragraph about each image?
Images leave us with impressions, emotions and ideas. It is a glimpse of lived experience that can give us a sample of what a whole story could be.
There are all kinds of image collections for writers on social media. Learning what triggers the scenarios, situations and atmosphere’s we envisage in our stories can also help to narrow down the themes of the galleries and photo essays we search for.
If you harness the great power provided by image galleries and photo essays that the internet has to offer, you’ll be back in your Dark Fiction master robes in no time.
First captioned image at the top — ‘Layered Ambience’ from my personal collection.
Image Gallery Credits (in the order they appear in):
‘White Moon’ from my personal collection
‘Solitary’ by Neil Tackaberry C.C 2.0
‘Byzantine Brickwork at Chora’ by Fusion-of-horizons C.C 2.0
‘Interior Mine’ by freeganfrenzy C.C 2.0
‘Vardzia escape tunnel’ by Henri Bergius C.C 2.0