RTW: Visual Inspiration

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic: It’s been awhile since we shared inspiration pictures. Show us yours!

Well, I’m on the downhill slide of revising my contemporary young adult ghost story, Where Poppies Bloom, so it just so happens that I’ve got it on the brain.

I’m a very visual person so once I had an inkling of an idea for the story (late last summer), I began trolling the internet for inspiring pictures. Here are the one’s that had the biggest impact on the initial drafting of Poppies:

The ever-mysterious poppy meadow.
Oregon coast cliffs.
Main character Callie spends her summer at an old Victorian that looks something like this…
The car Callie’s eventual love interest drives. She dubs it the Hippie Wagon.
I took this picture of Cannon Beach, Oregon last fall.
A main character wears a jacket just like this. A lot.
After a long hiatus, Callie attempts to reconnect with her passion: competitive swimming.
Callie’s blonde. There are poppies. And this one’s just pretty.

Now that I’m looking at these lined up all pretty, I’m surprised by how closely I stuck to the story these early pictures inspired. Sure there have been plenty of revisions and edits, but wow… the core of the original story is definitely still there. I’m also starting to wonder how completely random these pictures look to those of you who haven’t read Where Poppies Bloom… I swear it all comes together quite nicely!

What do you use for writing inspiration? Photographs? Music? Something new and exciting? Do share!


34 thoughts on “RTW: Visual Inspiration

  1. Sophia Richardson says:

    I have 423 files in my writing inspiration folder. Oops. It’s fair to say they are not equally loved; some may never grow up to be idea compost. Not all of them were/are as sparky as one of the most recent additions: a photo of a headless mannequin in a quirky outfit that led to the immediate creation of an equally quirky girl who now needs a story. A few songs make me want to write stories that contain the same kind of relationship, but again, they need to be mixed together with an actual plot. Huh, I guess I need to get better about actually combinining my various sources of inspiration. Thanks for the minor epiphany, Katy, and sorry about the long comment!

    • katyupperman says:

      Always happy to help with an epiphany. 🙂 And isn’t plot the hardest?! I have all kinds of cool characters and fun little scenes to put them in, but an actual plot? Yikes!

  2. Tracey Neithercott says:

    I’m much more visual. I have a few songs, but mostly I get my inspiration from photos. Sometimes I’ll just leave one open if I want to capture the feel. The only type of photos I don’t enjoy gathering are ones of people who look like my characters. What I find never matches up to what’s in my head and it just ends up giving me a headache.

    I love your photos. That poppy field is beautiful.

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks, Tracey. I like to do photos of setting and specific items, but not so much people. I find that I can never quite get the look of my characters in the photos I find online. Maybe I just need to spend more time looking. 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks, Jessi! I had such fun looking at all of the inspirational pictures from MOONGLASS that you’ve posted on your blog. Here’s to stories set on the beach. 🙂

  3. Meagan Spooner says:

    Oooh, I love seeing people’s inspiration pictures. This is especially interesting–you have fairly literal inspiration, whereas I tend to have totally abstract images–spiraling staircases with weird shadows, closeups of nature such that you can’t even tell what it originally was, etc. It’s pretty amazing to me how people find inspiration in totally different things! Brains are pretty fascinating.

    • katyupperman says:

      Very fascinating! I’m going to give more abstract images a try in the future. I like the idea of letting them take grow in your head while a story takes shape.

  4. sarah says:

    I WANT THAT JEEP. Seriously, not kidding, it’s my dream car. I also want it to run on vegetable oil. (my hippie self revealed.)

    I love all these photos, and the Oregon coast is gooooooorgeous.

    • katyupperman says:

      I love the Jeep too! That’s why I included it, of course. 🙂 I agree, the Oregon coast is gorgeous. I convinced my husband that we needed to vacation there last September… little did he know I was doing setting research!

  5. Julia Darcey says:

    Katy, you hit the nail on the head here! In high school, there is nothing sexier than a nice boy with an awful car older than he is. Sigh…good memories.

    So…I’m curious. Is there a connection between the poppy field and the poem “In Flanders Field”?

    • katyupperman says:

      YES! Nice boy with a hideous car… totally the best! 🙂

      Other than their obvious death/sleep symbolism, the poppies in my story don’t have a lot to do with “In Flanders Field,” though I love that poem.

    • katyupperman says:

      I spent summers in Cannon Beach as a kid too, and I still love it! We went last September and it was fun to revisit all the spots I loved growing up.

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks so much, Carol. My pictures are just from Google Images… once I have something in my head, it’s easier for me if I can sort of solidify it with an actual image… writer quirk. 🙂

  6. Lora Palmer says:

    Great visuals! That old Victorian looks a lot like my MC’s house, and love the picture of the cliffs with the ocean below. My MC’s hometown has that, too.

  7. Amie Kaufman says:

    Oh, that house! Adore, ADORE. I use pictures of characters (I cast my books, it’s not ENTIRELY an excuse to look at handsome boys), but I haven’t really used pictures of my setting before. I’ve just had a fantastic idea about pictures to look for for my next collaboration, though. Thank you!

    • katyupperman says:

      Anytime! I rarely cast my manuscripts… I always find it too hard to find images of people who look like the characters in my head. More searching is needed, I think!

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