Take a look at Kaushik Chatterjee’s photograph of Salema Khatoon for a moment. (If for some reason you’re reading this and the photo is no longer there, go to the end of this entry for an alternate description to work with.) Take in every detail of her face, clothing, expression, eyes, and body language. Look at each element individually and together as a whole.

Now, start writing about this young woman. Free-write about her for ten minutes or two sides of a sheet of paper (some people prefer to work with a time limit; others prefer to work with a space limit so they don’t have to watch the clock or set a timer). Let anything that comes to mind spill out; try to consider who she might be, what lies behind those deep eyes, and what her place in the world is.

If you’re a fiction writer, consider using her image as inspiration for a character in your fictional world and writing about that character.

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Alternate description: Imagine a black-and-white photograph of a slender young woman, taken from the shoulders up. Her head and shoulders are wrapped in a scarf; wisps of fine brown hair frame her forehead from under the edges of the scarf. The fold of her right nostril is pierced; her wide eyes are deep and brown, and her mouth ever-so-slightly open. Her left hand clutches her scarf closed.

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