If you’ve been following my Facebook page and website for a while, you probably know I like to write, and that most of the things I share online are things that inspire me in one way or another. Sometimes that inspiration will come in the form of a character, civilization, or plot line. But often, it’s nothing more than a tone or feeling I find myself looking to capture or emulate in written form. The bits and pieces I collect while worldbuilding serve as markers, lighthouses in the dark to keep my imagination on the right course. Nine out of ten times, I have no idea how or where the material I’m saving will fit into my writing. At the time, I just know I like it, that there’s something in it that resonates with me, and I like how my mind responds to the image, music, poem, information, or whatever it is I’m engaged with.
Every month, I find more and more images to add to my Muse’s toolkit. Below are the top five from April, along with a brief explanation of why I saved them and how they may one day influence my writing, serving as beacons for my imagination.
Station, by Beomhee Lee
This image makes me think of a hyper-advanced civilization, an old race that has long since mastered things like gravity, civil engineering, and mega-construction. They aren’t concerned about their cities falling from the sky, because, to them, an anti-grav generator is about as complicated as a toaster is to us. There are hundreds of failsafes and redundancies built into their city platforms, and the population isn’t the least bit concerned. If this were a human civilization, I’d imagine it to be in the far distant future.
Stranded, by Dylan Cole
This is such an epic image. It’s also one of those details that can allow an author to say a lot about a storyworld in just a few lines of narrative exposition. Sure, showing a character traversing the stars in a nice ship lets the reader know it’s a spacefaring race, but placing that same character on a planet and having him/her look up and describe such an epic sight as this would say the same and immediately give the reader a sense of technological scale and history.
Titanfall concept art, by Tu Bui
As a fan of military science fiction, I love images like this. They remind me of the grandness and scale that I want to capture when developing military fleets for large powerful civilizations—massive capital ships with impressive class names, like Guardian, Dreadnought, Hekatonkheires, and Titan. They’re the types of ships that make characters say, “Ahh…shit,” and can tip the scale of any battle when they enter the scene. Capital ships are one of the things I love most about military sci-fi, whether I see them in action or not, their mere presence makes me smile and appreciate the story a bit more.
Umek, by Jack
When I first saw this image, I thought of a mining operation. But now, a few weeks later, I think I see a rebel or pirate ship looking for a place to hide—probably a Star Wars influence, but I like the idea all the same. I also like the ship design, and the starlight cresting on the horizon. The image would make a great visual model for a scene.
Mist Glider, by Calvin Chua
While I do like the ship design in this image, I like the perspective even more. It has an introductory feel to it, and would make a great visual model when writing a scene, showing a ship for the first time through a character’s eyes. The goats on the hillside are a nice detail, too—good grounding. Any mountain dwelling animal would do. It’s the little things that bring a scene to life.