Exercise 1 – Take the above photo. Describe it with your own style and your own literary flair. Bring the scene to life. Give it its own characterization. Capture a moment.
Exercise 2 – Now, describe the scene from the eyes of one of your characters. Don’t be afraid to borrow those moments of gold you write in exercise 1, but make sure to stay absolutely true and honest to the voice of the character.
Bonus – Describe the scene from the eyes of the protagonist.
Goal – A big part of what makes a story stand out is character voice. Your own personal style changes as you do, and a character’s voice changes as the character does. When the two come together, there’s potential for literary magic, but bringing out and differentiating between different character voices takes lots of practice and even more reading.
Write for yourself, but also take time to write with the intention of improving skills. There’s reading for pleasure, and then there’s reading like a writer. The same applies to writing: write for pleasure, then write to improve. Experiment in these exercises. Try things you haven’t tried before.
Remember, the image is meant to generate ideas, so it’s intentionally vague. If you’re not used to writing about the subjects in the image, good. Write something you’ve never written before. Push yourself.