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Visual Illustrations to Aid Your Story

Hello everyone, today I would like to cover an interesting topic. This was inspired thanks to a friend of mine. I am grateful for learning this tool because it can help as much in your writing as it does in mine. This process was adopted by one of my favorite authors of all time, Shirley Jackson. Her visual illustration inspired the ones I plan to print today and the ones I just posted.

Now we will go into the use of visual illustrations to inspire and drive your writing. For activities such as writing, that require a great deal of imagination you should draw your ideas out if you cannot vividly imagine your novel in your head because you recognize what a great tool this is. I am sure Shirley Jackson could envision her novels but having something physical or digital helps a lot.

Visual illustrations can be important when it comes to other aspects of your writing. For example, you could even go as far as using it to pitch your novel. Because like I learned through my Bachelors of Innovation degree, outside-of-the-box ideas are the ones that make a lasting impact. It is these ideas that reach and touch millions and it is why reading is as popular as it is despite the advent of digital media. Stores like Barnes and Nobel are still around for a reason, so there is still a demand. While I am not advocating for paperbacks. I am saying books will likely be around forever and like paperbacks, physical representations of abstract ideas and thought can be your greatest asset.

Another way to think about it is to look at all the other imagination-based activities such as Dungeons and Dragons. Call me a nerd or geek if you want but no game compares when it comes to the amount of imagination you must invest to get the most out of the game. Another parallel to Dnd is it even uses floorplans and diagrams to allow players to immerse themselves in the game. While a visual illustration for a novel can help your reader dive into your novel. Now we will look at the specifics of my latest visual illustration.

My most recent visual illustration which is the reason I was not able to post yesterday, is a floorplan. This idea was inspired by Shirley Jackson’s floorplans for her novel which is one of my favorites, the Haunting of Hill House. Since the house was essentially a character, she needed to develop it as you would a character. Depending on your novel this may be more extensive than a character biography.

As for the specifics, I designed this diagram based on the climax of Act 2. I believe this is a game-changing scene and if you do want to start making diagrams start there. Find your key scenes and either draw a floorplan/diagram out. Or use online software as I did. Once again, not promoting them but the free software Lucid Chart is fantastic for this and I have used it for innovation diagrams as well.

The chart you see below was created with the help of the application Lucid Chart. Till next time…

- Matt Gorrell (creator of


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