Words and Pictures

How much more evocative with two different bite marks?

I was recently invited to participate in a photographic competition – as a judge, you understand. Well, I’m exaggerating; I was asked to vote. Anyway, as I walked along the rows I found myself drawn to different images for different reasons. 

Some photographers told a story, leaving you with questions and the delight of coming up with your own answers. Others showcased a particular skill – the way they used light or shade. Some were technically perfect but somehow lacking in character; although perfectly pleasant to look at they were sterile and staged. 

Inevitably, especially when I realised I needed a prompt for a blog post, those photographs made me think about writing. These are those thoughts:

1. Are you writing for yourself – to demonstrate or develop a particular skill?

2. Are you writing for someone else, and if so are you clear about what you want their experience to me?

3. Is your writing kinetic? Does the story move and will it move your readers?

4. Are you keeping to the boundaries of a certain style and genre? If so, how’s that working out for you and what would happen if you stepped over your own chalk marks?

I’d love to read your answers below in the comments section.

Both Anne and I (there were lost of voters) cast a vote for a black & white image. Her choice was a moment captured between two people, unposed, lost in the moment. My choice was a mother and daughter, faces in rapt surprise as something unexpected happened. Neither choice won an award but I have no doubt that each photo in the competition appealed to someone. On a different day and with a different set of judges, anything is possible. The same is true for writing, although not, I fear, for The Eurovision Song Contest!

A picture may paint a thousand words, but who is to say which words the audience receives?


  1. Well its probably a bit of all for I never know where the Muse will take me. Sometimes I think she's landed in a rut but I still go merrily along with the words flowing through my mind. My choice – if I don't like it – I throw it out and tell her to come up with something better!!!!

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