May 2, 2012

A Thousand Words to Paint a Picture

(This first appeared at Romancing the Book Blog, April 2012.)
I love story telling. I love hearing stories and telling stories, but stories don’t always get delivered through words, especially in this day and age. Words can paint a picture, literally. Yes, I said “literally” and I meant it, in the literal sense. If you watch the book trailer, associated with ANGELS UNAWARES, the first book in my Angels Series, and if you look really closely, you might notice that all of the pictures are made up. . . of words. It began as just a fun drawing exercise, but it has morphed into a book trailer, a plotting device, and a way to step away from the story and see it from different perspectives. It helped me to identify theme and motif. Yes, a picture paints a thousand words, but sometimes, a picture is painted USING a thousand words. And here’s how you can too. 1) Take an image. 2) (Steps 2 and 3 are optional.) Divide the image into a grid. (meticulous measurement is really important here.) 3) Divide your drawing paper into a grid of equal proportions, (but larger than the original is really fun.)
4) Transfe
r a pencil sketch of the image onto the paper. (If you want, you can just trace your copyright-free image from a light board, or by taping your image to a window and placing a piece of paper over the image.) 5) Lightly pencil in the areas of tone. (For example, I use a code, blank – for white, 1 – for very light gray, 2 – for a medium gray, 3 – for dark gray, 4 – for black, like a children’s paint-by-numbers.) 6) Then have fun penning in your words, one layer of words for light gray areas, two overlapping layers of words for the medium gray, etc., etc.
At first, it’s a little tedious, but once you get into it, it’s positively zen. AND it qualifies as brainstorming. As I’m writing the words to re-create the images, I’m writing what’s going through my head, so if you look close – VERY close – you may see book spoilers, my rant of the moment, my thoughts on light and shadow as they mirror the characters, and quite possibly the recipe for what was being prepared for supper that night. It’s not as important, HOW the story is told. What’s important is that your story is told. Share your story! And while you enjoy this little exercise, the photos here are some close-ups of the images in the trailer. As well, watch for the release of my next book trailer for, book 2 in the Angel Series, MOONSHINE. (Book 2 is already out. It’s the trailers that take on a life and story of their own.)

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