Merilee gave us some wonderful pictures and asked us to use her ideas workshop to generate some starting points for stories.  Some people have posted their main ideas, but I thought I would go with how I came up with my ideas too.

The first picture

First impressions – horrified, stressed, angry, annoyed, frustrated, embarrassment, hostility

Second impressions –

  • something horrific has happened behind him, while it wasn’t too traumatic for her (waxing legs perhaps?),
  • the fish was this big?,
  • focusing only on him – he is exasperated as he walked home from work – losing his mind? (woman is an innocent bystander),
  • she is his wife and just told him she is leaving him for another woman

Third impressions:  (The What If’s)

  • What if it was an accident and he could not handle the scene,
  • What if she had had a really bad day at work and her husband didn’t want to know about it, the start of a fight?
  • What if he had a migraine headache and moments later his head blew apart?
  • What if he was running because a bomb was about to go off, but she didn’t believe him.
  • What if she wasn’t really there… only he could see her?
  • What if he was wearing casts on his arms and they were permanently in that position?  Why? What happened?

The second picture was a lovely picture of some cottages on a beach

First impressions – summer storms, peninsula, isolation, salt air, steaming beaches, fishing stands, ocean, lakefront

Second Impressions

  • Houses haunted by a spirit or an idea
  • silent screams felt in the atmosphere
  • crying, loneliness, dessertion
  • the isolation of the place limits contact with the outside world (the isolation is deliberate)
  • the peace, calm and serenity drive people to want to stay at the popular lake front cottages

Third Impressions (The What Ifs)

  • What if the cloud patterns were actually created by UFO’s?
  • What if the isolation of the place drove him to insanity and he killed his family
  • What if the peace and calm hit a deeper and meaner spirit the house is haunted by
  • What if the sea levels rose?
  • What happens when the lake mists roll in over them?

The third picture, was one that I got the most ideas for – funnily enough.  It just appealed to the inner fantasist / child

First Impressions – galaxy, marble, shamrock, thought patterns, tunnel, hypnosis, smokescreen, laser pattern

Second Impressions – can honestly say I didn’t do this part, because so many fantastic ideas just lent themselves to this picture.  The more abstract and “limiting” the picture, the more I seem to be able to expand my ideas!

The What Ifs:

  • What if this was the pattern seen within a  dream machine used to hynoptise people to extract their dreams
  • What if this was part of a tunnel in an amusement park and people came out hypnotised (whoops, starting to get onto a similar theme here!)
  • What if this was a laser show within a nightclub?
  • What if this was a diagnostic picture of someone’s thoughts (modern ink blot test)
  • What if this was the symbol within a pack of cornflakes to indicate you had won a trip to the next nearest galaxy
  • What if it was a smoke screen that you had to come through to be reborn
  • What if it was a photograph / ultrasound of an alien being in the womb?
  • What if this is an ancient symbol recently discovered and it is sending signals into space, and it had originally been buried because of intergalatic communication in the past?
  • What if this was a photograph of someones thought patterns when they were given some sort of stimulus, like a picture of calm water?
  • What if this was a cell about to multiply?  What implications would there be?

I haven’t gone as far as adding the where and who, because at this stage I am not ready to use any of these as story ideas, but I did enjoy the exercise.  Just wish it would flow through to my gothic story!

Creativity Workshop – Idea Generator…?
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10 thoughts on “Creativity Workshop – Idea Generator…?

  • May 14, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I was surprised by how excited my muse got my the third picture too. In some ways it would appear to be the hardest but I can tell the first one will be the hardest for me. I liked the way you laid out your first, second and third impressions.

    • May 14, 2010 at 10:07 am

      Thanks Kerryn, it was a fun exercise, and usually the more bland the picture, the more I see in it… Just the way my brain works I think, it allows me to be more creative!

    • May 14, 2010 at 11:18 am

      Thanks for providing such wonderful stimulation! 🙂

  • May 14, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Wow, Karen! I loved these. My favorites were the smoke screen before being reborn and the prize in the cornflakes. Awesome. I hope you write some of them.

    Weirdly enough, I also felt the sinister aspect in the idyllic picture of the houses, and saw the shamrock in the third one. I’m now wondering why we’d both sense that in the second photo; is it something in us, or in the photo, itself? 😉

    • May 14, 2010 at 11:53 am

      Meredith, maybe we are both on the same wavelength. I tried not to focus on that, but the picture just screamed isolation and desolation to me, even though there really was nothing to indicate that in the picture.

      I guess it looks like a lighthouse keepers house, and they tend to be in isolated areas. Now there is an idea I didn’t think of…

  • May 15, 2010 at 3:48 am

    I really thought the last picture was going to be the hardest, but it was actually one of the easiest for me too. The hardest for me was the one with the people and I think it’s because it’s specific. It gives us two characters, we can see what they’re doing… my brain just goes, “Oh, their story is done, next.”

    • May 15, 2010 at 9:26 am

      I agree, they were already in a setting, the brain really stumbled on that one, but once I got passed the initial cliches, I managed to pick up some interesting things.

  • May 15, 2010 at 8:38 am

    I love how you’ve documented your thought process here! My ideas seemed to skip around and so with a couple of them I didn’t really have any development to point to. Your ‘what ifs’ are fantastic – so much potential there! And I bet any one of them could result in a dozen different stories. Great stuff!

    • May 15, 2010 at 9:28 am

      Thanks Davina, I actually had the pictures printed out and beside each one I had my initial impressions written in pen. Then next to that I had another column to further my ideas. I wasn’t until I sat down at the computer that the What Ifs really sprang to life. I had some, but concentrating on the pictures more, I ended up with lots more, so putting it down and coming back to it really does open up more possibilities.


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