My right brain is a magpie. It likes pretty pictures and shiny things. It thrives on drama, loves to touch things it shouldn’t, plays in the sand, is fascinated/repulsed by fungi and gets very excited over news reports of giant squids. Since this is where some of my best writing and my neatest ideas come from, I indulge my right brain as much as I can.
Right Brain loves landscape pictures. It loves the way the camera captures height and breadth and depth; it loves the colors, the lighting, the textures, the emotions. Here’s an exercise for using these images to inspire Right Brain.
Take a good look at the picture and start pinging Right Brain with questions. Here are a few to get your started, with my answers for the picture I picked.
How does this picture make you feel? What adjectives spring to mind when you look at it? A sense of loss. Of things prematurely taken away. Desolate, fragile, threatening (personal and universal), sad, cold-killed, lull between storms, silent weeping, frozen tears, broken, snapped. Something bad has happened but it’s not over yet.
What’s the one thing that strikes you most about it? That broken tree with frosted branches sweeping the ground like hair. Slender and trailing, it reminds me of a girl. A broken girl.
What’s beyond the edges of this picture? Where does the road go, what’s behind the mountain, what’s hiding in the trees? Some kind of storm, waiting to pounce. There are other trees, too, but they are too far away, too far to have sheltered and protected this one. There is a village nearby, gouged into a cleft, hiding from the storms, and a lake.
Put a character in this picture (human, alien, animal, personification, whatever). why is it there? What is it doing? The tree itself is (was) a character. It was woman once, and there is a woman now staring at it. A woman who sorrows for the tree, and fears and rages that she must now transform and take its place. The trees are protectors of the village, but they are losing their battle against the elements, dying young.
Right Brain is taking the Apollo & Daphne myth and giving it a twist, turning the transformation into a duty, part of a battle strategy, instead of a flight response. It’s pinging me with words–rooted, matriarchy, mother trees, sister huts, children, cold rage. I have the germ of an idea, a seed pearl of a story.
These are just starter questions. Let the answers you get guide you to the next set of questions. Keep them simple: Who? Why? What? When? How? Your response to this picture might be the inspiration for a new story–or at least, a fun creative writing exercise.