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Tip Tuesday #136

Tip Tuesday features writers' tips on craft, research, querying, blogging, marketing, inspiration, and more. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Today's tip was sent in by Yolanda Ridge, author of two middle grade books, Trouble in the Trees and its sequel Road Block, from Orca Book Publishers. This is Yolanda's first tip. Please give her a warm welcome and visit her site when you're done reading her fantastic tip below.
When flipping through magazine, papers, advertisements, and even the internet, I watch for people with interesting expressions, poses, outfits, or physical features. I like to cut out the pictures (or print them off the computer) and keep them in a folder. As a visual person, it really helps to have a file I can look through when I'm trying to describe a character. Instead of defaulting to the usual shoulder shrug or dimple, I can provide a lot more detail and originality when I have a picture to reference. The added bonus is that when friends or family ask if one of my characters is based on them, I can honestly say no and use the picture as proof (even though there are probably bits of their personality in their somewhere - otherwise, why would they ask?)
~Yolanda Ridge


  1. Awesome tip Yolanda. I hadn't thought of doing that. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Awesome idea - thanks for sharing it! I'll have to start paying more attention to those sorts of thing, and making note of it when I do notice.

  3. That's a really interesting idea--I like it. Thanks for sharing, Yolanda and Casey! I'll definitely have to keep that tip in mind.

  4. That's a great idea! Sometimes I write down a description when I notice someone in particular, but it just gets lost in my many notebooks. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Yolande!! Wonderful tip!!! I tend to keep stacks of mags with interesting pics and articles too! Yay! Take care

  6. This is a super tip and something I also like to do - I do the same w/ other pictures as well. Any unusual/interesting scene goes into the binder and can be used as possible fodder :)

  7. Really good tip. I'll have to try that!

  8. Great tip indeed...and one I am totally going to use! Thanks, Yolanda!

  9. Hi. I've come to this site via Janice Hardy's blog, as Natalie is a frequent poster on that site. Great post, Yolanda!

    Actually, as I'm NOT a visual person, this tip is even more useful to me. So thanks for posting, I'll give it a try.
    PS - how to enter the comp? I can't see a link. Is it open to international readers?
    + followed

  10. Hi Yolanda! What a simple and wonderful tool. I might assign that to some of my writing students. (and I'll credit you, of course)


  11. Oh my goodness, I used to do this and I loved it. But I stopped and I don't know why. Must do it again!

  12. Love this tip! Thanks, Yolanda.