3 Ways to Find Writing Inspiration in Images

by The Magic Violinist | 19 comments

They say a picture's worth a thousand words, but can you get even more words out of one? What about two-thousand? A whole novel? It's all up to you. But I do have three tips for you to find writing inspiration, as well as five images you can use to spark your creativity. Read on!

writing inspiration

How to Find Inspiration to Images

Sometimes finding writing inspiration can be difficult, but I've put together a list of three things that will help you in your creative process.

1. Go to Pinterest         

Pinterest is one of my absolute favorite writing resources. It's so easy to do a quick search and come up with hundreds of images you can pin to different boards to organize everything you find. Not a Pinterest user? Don't worry, you can still browse the site and download pictures to your computer for later use.

2. Study the image

The pictures you find will vary from simple to intricate to downright confusing. Take a few minutes to really pay attention to everything that's going on. Look at the main object, spend some time on the background, soak up every detail.

3. Ask questions

And finally, ask yourself questions that will help prompt a story. Be broad at first and ask yourself things such as: “What's happening in the picture?”, “How did it get to that point?”, and “Where will it go from there?” Then, be more specific depending on the image you're studying. Soon your answers will stretch into something more and you'll be ready to go.

Find Some Writing Inspiration

I went through my own “writing inspiration” board on Pinterest and picked out five of my favorite pictures that I thought could help all of you create something. Here they are.











What about you? What does your creative process look like when trying to find inspiration? Let us know in the comments section.


Pick one of the five images above and study it for a few minutes. Once you're done, ask yourself any question you can think of that will create a writing prompt. Then write for fifteen minutes, using that picture as inspiration. If you'd like, you can share your practice in the comments. Be sure to give your fellow writers some love, too!

The Magic Violinist is a young author who writes mostly fantasy stories. She loves to play with her dog and spend time with her family. Oh, and she's homeschooled. You can visit her blog at themagicviolinist.blogspot.com. You can also follow The Magic Violinist on Twitter (@Magic_Violinist).


  1. WritingBoy

    Home-schooling…way to go!

  2. Yiro Abari High

    Bish was a small country town, modest by its size, but big by the living standard of the folks who lived in it. There was also the serenity and cleanliness that is usual of a country town. When schools closed kids turn to the fun their country setting provides. They go hiking on the rocky hills around, plucking and sniffing beautiful wild flowers at the base of hills, agitating birds out from their hidings and enjoying the sights of colorful fluffy wings as the birds flew. They would also fish in the glassy waters and set traps to catch games for fun.

    For the kids of Bish, though, the greatest resource of their town wasn’t what their natural setting provided. It was, rather, the highway that cut through the town to the city. It provided the stage for contest bike riding to a nearby town, five kilometers away. Every kid wanted to be part of the contest whenever the season came round.

    But one must, however, have a bike to be part of the contest and a lot of parents feared that riding a bike along the crazy highway on which cars, trucks and power bikes whizzed pass like flying bullets wasn’t lucid. So, not all parents were willing to buy bikes for their kids. More than anything else, that was the issue that made news in the town of Bish.

  3. Duru Henry

    Joyce shut her kid sister up and commanded her not to speak about it to the earshot of anyone. It’s a secret that must not be told! Very much earlier, the two sisters, Joyce and Jane were spotted in Andrew’s house, the young man she (Joyce) met with on one of the social media platforms, He had invited her over to his house that very day, but she resulted to coming over with her younger sister, Jane.
    Andrew is a vigorous and ebullient young man, who is equally likable and fun to be with but easily influenced by his folks. He has surrounded himself with some bad companies who he perceived as friends, their job is to sought for girls online and tease them to come around. Their utmost priority to lay with the poor girls, after they must have drugged them. That fateful day, Joyce and Jane were their meal to devour just like every other victims. As planned they drugged the innocent sisters and rapped them to their own satisfaction.. Few weeks later, Jane started noticing some changes in her body system and spoke to her sister about informing their parents…

    • Wolf271

      I would really like to know how this story develops! You’ve set up a very tricky situation and I’d love to see how Jane and Joyce navigate through it. 🙂

  4. crzydjm

    I wrote a “horror” short story for submission a couple years back based off a haunting picture of Marilyn Monroe. Check it out (it’s under 2500 words) at https://crzydjm.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/altered/ (pw is “Marilyn”)
    I’d welcome any feedback anyone has as well.

    • Wolf271

      A haunting story to match a haunting picture. I thought it was great! 🙂

  5. Debra johnson

    After looking at the pictures I chose #3 the young woman climbing the fence. The following is a copy of the first chapter of that story…..

    The air quality was not that good today, there was a dark cloud hanging over the small town that day which most might interpret to be ones mood not being cheery. But it was
    more than that it was the actual air which those in town breathed and took into
    their lungs. The very air that was to sustain them and kept them alive and
    well. Today was air was dark and gloomy. It had been for days.

    But it wasn’t always that way, it was the one place people moved to to get away from the city smog and fog and other air pollutants that was common among bit industrial cities.
    Georgia was a member of one of those families. What the Ketons were to free love and peace, her family was to air quality and clean living. There was no way she could just stand by and watch as her new home town was being poisoned by big business companies, but once she began to think of how she could stop them, she was met with road blocks because she was just a mere teenager.

    As she got up that day she looked outside hoping to see clear skies and sunshine. But what welcomed and greeted her was dark streaks of smoke with only patches of blue
    skies trying to poke through. The hills in the distance were the only things breaking up the consistent band of dark clouds that now filled the air. What started out as a happy optimistic day turned into a day of overhanging clouds and dismay. No one liked the air quality but no one could find a way to do anything about it either. Even the teens in town had been talking about ways to expose the source of these clouds but no one would listen, because no one had the guts to do anything about it….
    The source of those clouds while destroying the air did bring in business to
    the town. But at what cost?

    “We’ve got to do something about the clouds that have begun to hang in the air. Just stepping outside now fills me with dread because there is no sun to warm me and forget
    about breathing deeply- who knows what I would be breathing in.

    • Wolf271

      I like this. It is a depiction of the world that is disturbingly close to our reality. What are we doing to our world? We just keep on using the Earth as if it is indestructible but it’s not. And the disturbing thought you leave us with is what really is in our air and what are we going to do about it? This is a successful piece! 🙂

    • Debra johnson

      Thanks Wolf271, was kinda thinking a younger Erin Brockavich type thing… shes definitely an inspiration.

    • Wolf271

      Oh cool! 🙂

    • Debra johnson

      Yea she did not let things get her down for long,, when life served lemons she really made lemon aide.

    • Wolf271

      Sounds like she is an inspirational woman!

    • Debra johnson

      She is and whats great is the story is real.

  6. sherpeace

    I used photos to help me write my novel. El Salvador’s war was the most photographed war in the world at the time. My guess is that it still is. Bush even had laws put in place to prevent certain images from being seen!

    Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
    Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

    • sherpeace

      Though I must admit that I go to Google for pics! Yes, there are way too many to see them all, but one has a much better choice to pick that special ONE.
      Any reason you chose Pinterest? Lately I find myself asking for a Pinterest button as there often isn’t one available.
      Just curious.

  7. Sarah Bourgeois

    “Shhh.” She said as she circled me her dark hair brushing across my fair face. “You only need to tell me the specifics. You won’t be betraying anyone.” She tempted her voice as soft as sugar, convincing me that it was okay to lie to my friends and tell all to this secret agency.

    I looked her dead in the eyes as I gathered up the courage to tell her. “You are going to have to pry the answers to those impervious questions from my grave.” I seethed. I would never tell the agents what I knew or how to defeat my very powerful friends. They would have to kill me first.

    • NC0207

      This piece is only short but very effective. It leaves me with so many questions. Who are they? What’s going on? What questions? What answers? I like it!

  8. NC0207

    I think I probably went over 15 minutes… oops! I chose picture 2 in the end. Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks.

    Why wasn’t it possible to get drunk on a milkshake? I slumped in my seat, absent mindedly stirring the glass of strawberry milkshake in front of me while trying to avoid looking at anything, particularly the empty seat opposite me. He had left his glass of milkshake untouched. Well, that meeting could’ve gone better.
    At 00:05, I’d “broken in” to the diner (if using the spare set of keys I’d been given as an employee to unlock the front door can be classed as breaking and entering). I’d then helped myself to a milkshake (it was my right), made another glass for the visitor I was expecting and sat down.
    At 00:22 the bell rang, a warning. I didn’t turn around. My breathing became ragged, my pulse quickened; I concentrated on the sound of the generators and the heating. By the time the silent footsteps had reached my booth, I’d calmed down enough to keep a poker face even when my visitor flung a knife on the table. He slid into the seat opposite me.
    “A milkshake,” he said, “How kind of you.”
    “Lucifer,” I said. That wasn’t his real name but that was the name he’d chosen. Something about fallen angels and disobeying God. “I should’ve known they’d send their worse scoundrel.”
    “Cut the bullshit girl,” he said, “Why did you do it?” I feigned ignorance.
    “Do what? Serve myself a milkshake? Hm, let’s see, because I felt like it?”
    “Don’t play games you can’t win,” he said, his steely grey eyes flashing. “There were witnesses. Fourteen of them. But if you need me tospell it out for you: Why. Did. You. Kill. Billy?” Each word landed a blow. Lucifer, at 19, was only a year older than me but he suddenly looked a lot more menacing.
    “I did what I had to do,” I said, fighting to keep my voice steady. You don’t survive the streets without being ruthless.
    “Care to share why you had to kill a man ten years older than you who happened to be the head of one of the most dangerous gangs in this city?” he said. He didn’t raise his voice, didn’t even change his tone but I could tell he was losing his patience. So obviously, I told him why I killed Billy.
    “I’m not really sure how to tell you this Lucifer but… No, I don’t care to share,” I said. His cheek twitched.
    “So be it,” Lucifer said. “But it will cost you. Your punishment is four batches of 50 lashes, spread over the course of the next week.” Lucifer stands up. “I’ll send some of my people to get you tomorrow morning. In the meantime I have some advice for you-”
    “I don’t want it,” I said but he continued on as if I hadn’t spoken.
    “Firstly, don’t resist when they come and get you. Secondly, reconsider your refusal to answer my questions. Thanks for the milkshake,” he said and left the diner, the bell ringing behind him.
    My eyes fell on the knife in the table. It hadn’t been cleaned and was still coated in Billy’s blood. I could still feel how I’d pushed the knife up between his ribs and into his heart.
    Oh God, how was I going to survive 200 lashes?

  9. Wolf271

    Thanks for the great post! I find looking at pictures are always great, especially when I’ve got writer’s block. I chose to write about picture 3. I’ve set it in a world that I’m working with at the moment and just threw a couple of my characters into the situation. It’s a little bit rough but I enjoyed writing it. 🙂

    It had been a dare. And it had been Lux’s idea. Stupid things always were Lux’s idea.
    I was being a good child, doing my homework in the library when Lux sauntered in.
    “Hey Lina,” he said, “We’re playing truth or dare, come and join us.” I’d shaken my head, trying to quell the stirring of excitement in my stomach.
    “No Lux,” I’d said, “I’m being a good girl and doing my homework.”
    “Aw, come on Lina,” he’d said, “This good girl act doesn’t suit you and besides, it’s no fun without you.” My lips tugged upwards.
    “Lux, I’m on report,” I had said.
    “I hate you,” was my reply, even as I packed up my stuff. He’d grabbed my hand and we’d gone to meet our other friends. “If I get expelled, I’m going to kill you,” I’d said. Lux had only laughed his wild laugh.

    Our truth and dare wasn’t like other people’s truth and dare. Our games could go on for weeks or even months, each dare getting wilder and more impossible as the game went on. Every dare was a risk. When you got caught in the act, you were out of the game. The last person uncaught won.
    There was always the truth option but you only went for that if you were mad; we Elves have a way with truths and half truths, lies and white lies. It was very difficult to lie to a whole group of us and our questions were not always the most comfortable.
    We were only a week and a half into the game when I got the dare.
    There was a nuclear power plant left by the humans on the East side of the woods. It was the only one that the Council had been unable to get rid of. Goddess only knows how it managed to withstand the human war. The thing pumped out gas day and night and there was a whole battalion stationed there whose job it was to safely dispose of anything that came out of it and stop anyone getting near it.
    It was an impossible dare but if I didn’t try then I’d look like a coward. Lux probably just wanted me to get caught so he could rub it in my face. I had three more wins than him and he really didn’t like that. They gave me one week to plan and complete my dare: get past the battalion, over the fence and on to the premises. Then find a token of some sort to prove I’d made it and get back out, all without being seen. It was the hardest dare I’d ever been given.
    Five days after the dare had been set, I left the premises with only a single bag; it was full of the equipment I’d need. Before I could even think about the battalion I would have to get over the ten foot high, barbed outer fence. It took me an hour’s walk to get there. I tried not to be intimidated by the size of the monster; I was a small girl as it was. My English wasn’t great but I was pretty sure the sign on the fence said: PRIVATE PROPERTY NO TRESPASSING. Oh Goddess, what had I gotten myself into this time?



  1. 3 Ways to Find Writing Inspiration in Images - […] The pictures you find will vary from simple to intricate to downright confusing. Take a few minutes to really…
  2. Monday Must-Reads [12.28.15] - […] 3 Ways to Find Writing Inspiration in Images […]

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