1 minute: Select a picture and spend some time looking into it, noting as many details as your brain can take in. Close your eyes for a few seconds and try and recall as much detail as possible about the picture, then repeat the exercise. Make some one-word notes about the picture.
1 minute: Look into the picture again. Write a description of the image. Put in details about the different shades of colour, the textures and the shapes. Say whether it is a ‘flat’ image as in a one-dimensional print, or whether the picture has a depth you could walk into, such as a landscape or an interior.
5 minutes: Try and imagine yourself in the picture. Looking around you, the different elements in the picture start to come alive. Say who you are and why you are there. Say what elements of the picture are the most visually striking: for example an element of nature or something that is in the room or landscape from the picture you are sitting/standing/hiding in. What feels different about the world of the picture now you have claimed it for your story? Write about the smells all around you and the feel of an object under your fingertips. You are about to pick something up – why? How do you feel, clam; excited or afraid?
3 minutes: Now go back into the fictional past and say how you came to end up in this room/landscape/situation. What happened before the moment your time in the picture began?
You now have the elements of a short story or even a prompt for a novel.