From time to time, a picture goes into my file of story prompts. I ran across this photograph of a corner in Peveril Castle the other day, and flash! a fiction! If I were better at art software, I could probably combine it with this photograph of Peveril Castle for a Tiny Illustrated Story. Read More
Picturing a World
Blog post alert: Kathleen Jennings has a long, amusing, and excellent post on Some elements of ghost stories. Instead of piggy-backing too much on Jennings, however, I chose a picture form John Muth's Zen Ghosts (which includes a Japanese ghost story) because I love both the story and the art.
Here in the Berkshires, as the days shorten, we face cold rain and a first frost, which certainly means a book beside the fire appeals! Florence Ada Fuller was an Australian artist, a slightly younger contemporary of the real Jeanette Smith. Like my fictional Jeanette Palmer, she studied at the Académie Julian with William-Adolphe Bouguereau. I didn't know of her until I ran across a post at My Daily Art Display. It's always a pleasure to discover a new artist, and Fuller is a reminder that Australia is a whole continent to explore. Where to start? How about Australian Impressionism?
This engraved illustration to a page in Edward Young's Night Thoughts by William Blake from his own watercolor design demonstrates pictorial drama, while the thirty-line text shows approximately how long a one-page tiny story could be. Blake reacted to the poem. We, on the other hand, could ignore it and react to the imagery as inspiration for a story. As I said in my last post Kathleen Jennings has a good post on formats for tiny illustrated stories.
Blog post alert: The diagram shown here appears in a blog post 7 Suitable Career Options for 19th Century Women in France. Admittedly, there can have been only so many nuns, midwives and teachers in France during the entire century. But when you take into account that farm and factory workers, servants, and merchants must have made up a large portion of the female population, you realize the cliché of women 's being restricted to the domestic sphere applied only to the relatively small middle and upper classes. Iva Polansky, author of the Victorian Blog, gets it.
Fantasy writers' prompt: This photo at Geograph is accompanied by a caption: "Dunluce is one of the most picturesque and romantic of Irish Castles. With evidence of settlement from the first millennium, the present castle ruins date mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries. (When it is not raining!)"
Okaaay—so what happens when it does rain?
An editor might move the parenthesis to follow the first sentence. Fantasy writers? Get to work on time slips and morphing ruins!
My earlier post on Marie Danforth Page mentioned this self-portrait. Looking at it again, I was struck by Page's slightly amused, slightly challenging gaze out of the corner of her left eye. The side glance is explained in part by the painter's need to look in a mirror over her shoulder for a three three-quarter's pose, but it set me thinking about how she might be interpreted as a character in a story. First result: three Imagist haikus (with apologies to William Carlos Williams).
Serendipity + disparate connections = story possibility. Recently, my husband and I took a drive along a rural back road. In the side yard of a pretty 19th C farmhouse, a black bear was asleep. When we stopped, it roused and ambled away. On our return down the same road later, there it was again. When I e-mailed a niece about it, she replied, "The Napping Bear—it could be a pub or home goods store or anything." I thought of Barbara Firth's illustration for Martin Waddell's Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? and bingo! a children's bookstore. Now to figure out what happens there.