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Exercise Six: Scrapbooking

‘Collect photographs of people who strike you as interesting… in natural poses… collect pictures of interesting locations too’.

Exercise Six of Andrew Cowan’s ‘The Art of Writing Fiction’ proposes a companion to the observational journal of the previous task: a scrapbook. In it, one should gather interesting people, places and stories that have a sense of being real. This should help further create a repository of material that you can look back to and draw from when constructing a piece.


Exercise Six: Scrapbooking

To complete this exercise, I went out and (reluctantly) bought copies of The Sun and the Daily Mail, as well as a copy of the Guardian.

Below is an image of the pictures I found:



This is not something I will do again. For the amount of time put into the exercise, the amount gained from it was not worth it. Perhaps this comes from my age and my generation; gathering images of people is largely irrelevant now because there’s an entire wealth of images on the Internet. Say your piece had a fiery, red-headed fantasy heroine: google those words and a limitless supply of potential inspiration appears for you.

I do feel, however, that images of locations would be of more use to me than people. With my current project being environmentally minded, inspiring or interesting vistas from a magazine like National Geographic may prove to have been more valuable. As it is, the poverty and immigrant shaming of The Sun and the Mail proved to be of little inspiration.


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