Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Dark and Stormy Night

It was a dark and stormy night…

Sometimes, especially in the spooktacular month of October, I like to find pictures of dark forests, creepy cemeteries, and haunted castles to use as writing prompts. A firm believer in a picture is worth a thousand words, I often rely on visuals to spark my creativity. This also allows me to write about topics I might not otherwise explore, because I tend to be more of a woods-on-a-sunny-day type of gal. Deliberately seeking out photos and paintings with dark, sinister undertones helps me dig deep and tap into the blackness I think all of us have inside. Most of us spend our days ignoring that blackness, keeping it hidden and leashed.

But it’s there. Always there.  And some great writing can come from that blackness.

Here’s one I wrote about this picture:

The trees cast ghastly shadows in the muted light of the full moon.  Thick clouds chase each other across the storm-darkened sky.  They race past the moon causing fleeting moments of complete blackness to fall upon the jagged oceanside cliffs below.  Tumultuous waves beat against the rocky shore with a deafening rhythm.  The white tips of high cresting waves crash down violently, turning up tangled tresses of seaweed and small gravel fragments of ocean floor.  Harsh salty sea spray spews up as the wind whips fiercely over the coast. 

On a night such as this the cold seeps through coats, sweaters, even flesh.  It burrows deep into a body and coils its icy fingers right around the soul.  On a night such as this it is wisest to stay inside by the warmth of a roaring fire.  It is wisest to nestle comfortably beneath a soft blanket of thick fleece.  It is wisest to push away all thoughts of venturing out into the unsettled weather. 

Unfortunately, for some, the call of the ocean surpasses any irrefutable wisdom.  For some, the thrash of storm-swelled waves sounds like a lullaby, luring them out to the dangerous precipice and the roiling seas below. 

For some, a murky night such as this means losing oneself...

Your turn! Try writing something dark for this picture.

Hope you had some fun!

My story, “Every Last Bite,” has some darkness to it and is one of the finalists in All Romance Ebooks “Just One Bite” contest. Visit here to read it and vote for me.



Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Chris,
Wow, that story was spooky, it made me feel cold. The sea always looks so black and endless at night.



Barbara Edwards said...

Spooky story. I need to think about those birds. I'm still afraid of Alfred Hitchock's movie about attacking birds.

Alison Henderson said...

Definitely spooky! I loved this post and your idea of using art to take your writing somewhere you don't normally go. I'm a strongly visual person (art history major), but I never thought of doing this. I usually just rely on the pictures in my mind. Now I can't wait to try using atmospheric images to stimulate my writing. Thanks!

Jannine Gallant said...

Crows perched high above laugh at the mortals below as the unthinkable creeps through the night...

Good luck with the contest, Chris. Fun blog to get my creative juices flowing.

Colleen Connally said...

Good luck with the contest!

Christine DePetrillo said...

I love picture writing prompts! I use them all the time with my students who always come up with something fun and original.


Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Sometimes we use picture prompts in our writers' group. It's always fun to see how different our reactions are to the photo. Great post. Scary story.