Tourmaline .

Miniature Diorama Photographer

Using Writing 201 as a Guide for any Creative Endeavour (part 4)

I missed the sign-up for the February 2016 Writing 201: Finding your Story WordPress Blogging U course. But, that’s okay – I’ve decided to follow along with the ebook version found here.

While I do write poetry and short stories from time to time, my chosen artistic outlet is photography. And in any case, I like seeing all artistic and creative endeavors as intertwined in process. Each begins, whether writing, painting, performance art, with an idea and a desire to create. A need for expression. In that sense, every piece of visual art or writing is a story waiting to be told. Once the process of creating begins, the process of editing coincides. Each brush stroke, key stroke, click of the shutter is a conscious decision. Each pressing of the delete key, re-paint, crop is another conscious decision to pair down, fix, edit. The end goal is to make the result, the art piece, reflect your initial vision – to be what you consider complete and ready to be shared with the world.

Week 4

  1. Finding your Angle
  2. Intros and Hooks
  3. Finding your Key Moment
  4. Setting the Scene
    1. Building a scene, plank by plank
      1. Construction

        Construction

      2. “what are the key narrative elements that keep your plot moving forward?” – Writing 201 eBook
        1. “You want the reader to feel like he’s right there with you. Scenes are all about action and movement and tension and detail. They should unfold moment by moment.” – Laurie Hertzel at Nieman Storyboard on scenes, Writing 201 eBook
          1. When considering this last quote, as it applies to images, consider a series – each image tells you more about the overall narrative. When applied to a single image, each color choice, object, excluded item, etc. gives you small little hints about the overall meaning/story line.
        2. “Key elements to any scene…”
          1. Character(s)
          2. Setting
          3. Action
          4. Duration
            1. These things can be applied to visual art as well (I know this is supposed to be about any creative endeavor – I believe the course covers what you need for any sort of writing, and hopefully my tidbits help apply to visual art – while these concepts can also be applied to performance art and other art movements, I’ll leave you to make those connections on your own, as I don’t want to overstep my bounds and discuss things I’m not very familiar with creating). The people, animals, implied people – from the objects depicted, in your image(s) are your characters. The other items, background, etc. around them is your setting. The facial expressions, body movements, lighting, etc. is your action. Duration is a little harder to apply, but in a narrative series you can have items and people move in and out of scenes, otherwise your duration is largely implied by what your audience knows about the depicted action and setting.
            2. 8
          5. “You don’t have to explain everything.” – Writing 201 eBook
            1. This is very important. Mystery in your images is what keeps the viewer intrigued. If you have a series of 50, 20, even 5 images, consider each of them and how they relate. Can you take out 1, 2, 10 and still have the story come across? Sometimes more isn’t better.
            2. Similarly, you don’t want to include absolutely everything in your single image. If you want to create an image about an overarching story, theme, emotion, etc. Try to determine a couple of items that encapsulate that theme. If your image is about sadness, include blue tones, or water, but don’t go straight for a close up of a crying, distorted face.
            3. danny on stairs
          6. Designing the house around the safe
            1. The end-point of your story
              1. What is the climax, the turning point of your story? Why is what you’re depicting important? Focus on that, show that, the story surrounding it can fade in the presence of what is truly important here.
                1. “The setting needs to be vivid…The character…should be convincing…avoid a heavy-handed ‘eureka!’ moment.” – Writing 201 eBook
                2. “Like the choreography of a dance, your scene is composed of discrete details brought together into a meaningful sequence.” – Writing 201 eBook
          7. Writing with a spoon in your hand
            1. “The challenge is, first to choose the right details, and second, to present them – to narrate them – in the right way.” – Writing 201 eBook
              1. “A description gives the reader a moment to reflect, to feel, to intuit. It’s like a pause in the forward momentum of a piece.” – Mary Jacksch, How to Show (Not Tell), Writing 201 eBook
                1. This can easily be the definition of an image as well – a frozen moment in time – made up or documentary it doesn’t matter. Why did you freeze this moment? Why is it important? Tell us with what you decide to include in the image, and what you’ve left out.
                2. “There is, of course, real value to not always spelling things out – obscurity, even in minimal doses, even on the level of language, creates tension, and tension drives writing – and reading – forward.” – Writing 201 eBook
                  1. Mystery in your images, makes the viewer want to stay with it, to solve it.
                  2. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
                3. Showing vs. Telling – The Camera Test
                  1. “Can the camera see it? Read what you’ve written, and then see if it passes the camera test. If it doesn’t, perhaps your description needs a bit more fleshing out.” – Writing 201 eBook
                    1. Okay, so with an image you can’t exactly ask yourself this question. However, do step back from your image. Let it breathe and settle. Sometimes things look strange when you’ve stared at them too long. Take a second look and ask yourself ‘Does this makes sense? If I hadn’t made this, and saw it online, in a gallery etc. what conclusion would I come up with as to what it means?’ Ask your friends what they see in your images too. Sometimes it’s good to get out of your own head. Didn’t turn out the way you wanted? Revisit, revise or start again.
                    2. “This is writing with a spoon in your hand – you keep tasting, keep correcting, and keep adjusting. At some point – you might be satisfied at last, or you might just be exhausted – you stop.” – Writing 201 eBook
          8. A question of place
            1. Read like an editor
              1. “when you play around with the position of your scene, be sure to re-read the post in its entirety.” – Writing 201 eBook
                1. Revisit your images often and analyze them. The only way to become a better artist is by critiquing your work and continuing to improve in areas you feel your old work is lacking.

Hope you’ve gotten something out of these 4 weeks. Are you participating in Blogging 201? Let me know and chime in on the conversation below.

7 Responses to “Using Writing 201 as a Guide for any Creative Endeavour (part 4)”

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