Instead, I came to a much more fun idea. As you may know from other posts, my favorite part of writing is developing a unique, beautiful, intricate fantasy world. Character and plot always come second for me. However, I am not a very visual person. If I want to see an image in my head, I have to close my eyes and add each detail manually, like I am painting a picture in my head. This sometimes makes it difficult for me to imagine my settings and characters. To get over this problem, I have come up with a fun solution. I create a collage of images that are similar to what I am imagining. I usually arrange it in Power Point, so I can look at all of them together.
Here are some examples of pages I have put together:
In my current work-in-progress, the Airaloth are primarily inspired by classic light elves, classic mages, and Oriental culture. I wanted the look of their buildings to reflect that. I planned to combine Oriental architecture with glass and other translucent materials to emphasize their focus on light and magic. I put together a page of Oriental buildings that I liked, focusing particularly on the swooping roofs, and then I created another page of images that reminded me of glass, crystal, or ice. This way, when I look at these collages, I can get an idea of what the buildings look like without having to try to form them in my head.
Also, the Airaloth landscape is very traditional fantasy: green, rolling hills, magical forests, stunning water, and majestic, delicate buildings on the horizon. I keep all of these images handy whenever I need to describe the setting as I am writing.
The Nyloth are another race in my story, and they are very different from the Airaloth, despite being partially related. They live underground because of a curse that will turn them to ash if they are touched by sunlight. Their homes are built in and around huge mushrooms. They also carve the stone into majestic Gothic structures.
Most of these pictures just come from google. Often, when I find inspiration related to one of my races, lands, or characters, I will save it and add it to a page. Races are a bit more difficult to put together, but they can also be a lot of fun. Humans, elves, dwarves. dragons, and others are easy to find, but I do have some original species in my story, so I have to look for more alien-looking images. I find science fiction sources are much better than fantasy for this.
Often, I can get lost finding or creating visual aids for my writing, and procrastinate what I am actually supposed to be doing: putting words on a page. However, I find these aids to be incredibly useful, not to mention fun. They are also very handy for giving others a glimpse of my story.
What do you think? Would you enjoy putting together something like this, or would it be too difficult to find pictures to accurately represent what you are imagining? Do the images in real life ruin the images in your head? Similarly, are book-to-movie adaptations ever disappointing because they don't match up to your own interpretation? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading!
I have long since lost the actual links for the images in my collages, unfortunately.
The pictures of Nathala, Vasi, and Saelina were made using the AzaleasDolls Sci-Fi Warrior Creator.