"Tom Hart, the IMAGES THAT SING exercise was really inspiring and literally took me about two minutes, like, the whole thing came together in a flash and made me see a huge theme for the book."
POW! My "Image that Sings" in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
What is the Images That Sing exercise?
It's easy, and powerful.
Just look for the moments, narrative moments, in movies, tv, stories, even songs that stick with you, that capture you when you're walking down the street. That suddenly come to you while you're walking across the kitchen. That you remember when you're driving, or exercising.
Keep a list of 3 or 4 or more, and look at the themes. What are they about? What is happening to the characters in those moments?
They will reveal something about your own story.
"My aha! revelation above that all these sequences hit the same theme—civilization aka NYC (of the 1970s/80s) is built on pavement above a dark feral animal unconscious lurking below ground in the subways or rising up from out of the East and Hudson rivers from down the slopes —"
"I really didn’t plan for all of these... I think what’s going on is this idea of the shadow self, the subconscious, lurking just beneath the surface, a dark desperate reality beneath a glamorous surface. "
In my own stories, I see the theme of "ordinary people being invited" over and over again. That's what Roy building a tower in his living room in Close Encounters is.
He's having visions, he's being invited to participate...