Friday, December 30, 2011

Beginning with a picture

On this next to the last day of 2011, almost the end of the year, I want to add one more voice in the series on beginnings.

We've listened to people who begin with research, who begin with doodling around, who begin in their heads and don't write until they know a good portion of the story.

Today's guest--Anne Ylvisaker--often begins with a photo. She'll find a photo that seems to "speak" to her and ask herself questions. Who are these people? What are they like? Why is the grandmotherly woman so sour-looking.

Here's the photo [from Anne's blog] and here's Anne talking about the beginnings of The Luck of the Buttons:

"And The Luck of the Buttons is set in fictional Goodhue, Iowa. I named the town Goodhue because the family photo that led me to writing the story is taken on a farm in Goodhue County. Look closely at the cover of the book and you'll see a tiny reproduction of this image on the family album Tugs is holding.

While there is an actual town of Goodhue in Minnesota, I brought this fictional Goodhue to Iowa because of my experiences living there when I was beginning to write the story. My inspiration for the main character came from an Iowa cemetery, and I was drawn in by the people and landscapes of Iowa artists Grant Wood and Marvin Cone."

Thanks Anne. And while we're still thinking about The Luck of the Buttons here's a lovely review.

Beginning with a photo...maybe it would be useful to build up a collection of photos and use them as writing prompts on those days when the cupboard is not brimming over. And maybe that writing will lead to some questions that prompt more writing.

Or when we want to shake things up we could just pick a photo and insert one character into a current story and see what happens.

Beginnings..let's begin something..something new..any little and that beginning will get us across the bridge into the new year.

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