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The inspiration of pretty things

Sometime at the very beginning of this year, I started to work on a noir/scifi short story. The city had to play a huge part in the story, so before I even got started on characters or plots, I worked on the city.

Bridges, I knew, and almost cyberpunky-lighting. So I used one of those AI program and played around until I got the picture you see above - almost exactly what I wanted. As soon as I had the picture, I had the first two lines of the story...and then I knew exactly who my narrator was and what her deal was.

I'm not at all gifted in any kind of visual art, and I've never practiced enough to get beyond preschool enthusiasm, so I almost never think to use visual aids of any kind in my story-planning. But then two fantastic authors - Melissa Olthoff and Jordan Comeaux - introduced me to the phenomenal mood boards they use in their writing and now I'm hooked.

Do you do any kind of visual planning/drawing/mood-boarding in your non-art life? Are you arty? I don't even know where to begin with doing actual art myself, so I'm grateful for all these fun little programs that let me play around and try to kick my brain onto the track.

Because otherwise for me it's been about spending time in beautiful places - nature-y, mostly - which is inspiring in an entirely different way.

For instance, we're in our winter location outside of Charleston, SC, and not only is the park gorgeous, but we're about 15 minutes to the beach, so I foresee a lot of going outside and taking 800 pictures that are very similar (but still so pretty) between now and March.

Which, honestly, is another reason I don't spend much time playing around or practicing in the visual art world - I know I am a plummet-into-the-rabbit-hole type, and it's soooo much fun (and there's so much to learn it can be soooo overwhelming) that I'm going to have to ride herd on myself to stay focused.

Because yes, I finally turned in my noir short story, but there are still, oh, five pressing projects on my plate that I should be working on. I'll have to channel my inner Olive - specifically, that's our dog Olive when she sees a squirrel, because WHEW is she laser focused:

Feel free to share your go-to visual inspirations - I'd love to hear it when I'm done yelling at squirrels...wait no, I mean writing. Hitting my writing goals. That part. ;)

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