I often find that one of the best ways to come up with fascinating fictional characters on demand is to go looking for fascinating portrait photographs and artwork on the web. Take an image and imagine what that person would be if she were a character in your fictional world. Today, do that with the following photograph (click through for the larger version and photographer information) or look through the rest of photo.net (my favorite source of inspiring photographs) for one that speaks to you or your needs:

What is this woman thinking? Why does she look to the ground–is there some shame or sorrow that bows her head, or does respect or awe lower her gaze? Who is observing her, and what are their thoughts?

You can also use such images as “story starters”–imagine that your story begins in that image, and take it from there.

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