This little tip comes courtesy of a note session I was involved in with a producer. He was not happy with the visuals (or lack thereof) I was using for the script we were developing. He asked me to spend a couple hours coming up with a picture portfolio for all my characters. I could put whatever I wanted in the portfolio – except words!
The portfolio had actors/models/every day people who I thought looked like my characters. There were pictures of cars and houses that they might live in. One had a Pomeranian. Another slept in his parents’ backyard in a green Army tent. Another had a thing for Mary Janes in various colors. By the time I was finished I had 20 solid pages of images that represented the lives of my characters.
The second half of the assignment was to integrate those images into the script using language that would pop and best describe what I had collected in the portfolio. I was surprised how much easier it was to write about an item once I had a visual representation right in front of me. My word choices were more vivid and spot on and improved the storytelling aspect of the script exponentially.
So go find those old magazines you have stacked up around the house and start tearing.