Prompting reflection #writephoto

hobbit door image: scvincent.com

Back in February 2016, I included this photo in a post. Michelle Clements James of Book Chat said she thought it would make a great writing prompt, so I set up a post, not expecting that many would take part. To my surprise, ten stories emerged. When the challenge was over, K.L. Caley from new2writing asked when the next photo prompt would be…and so the weekly ‘writephoto’ prompt came into being.

I  try to pick images that are open to interpretation, title the challenge ambiguously and retitle the photo, erasing any clue to location or circumstance that might influence the way it is percieved, avoiding imposing my own ‘take’ on the image to allow imagination to run free.

Almost two years after it began, the prompt regularly sees thirty or more responses every week. There have been over a hundred and fifty different authors. Some who were there for that very first prompt still participate, others come and go, most weeks there is someone new who joins the challenge and it is my privilege to share their work here.

Not only is it a great way to discover new writers and their stories, I have found that the prompt has a lot to teach about how we view the world. The same photograph will suggest completely different things to each writer. It may paint a picture of romance, murder, mystery or adventure. There will be fairytales, sci-fi and fantasy. It may call up a poem or incite laughter. It may suggest words that speak to the heart, the mind or the imagination. And yet, the image remains the same.

The challenge is just a bit of fun, yet by its very nature, it highlights the fact that although we are all looking at the same image, we all bring our own unique perspective to what we see. How we interpret that, what form we choose to give it, how we bring it to life and send it from our own heart and mind out into the world… there are as many variants as there are participants in the challenge.

Sometimes there will be a similar story running through several pieces; the image has suggested a common theme to a handful of writers, and yet, for others, it will have called up something completely different. Where one sees a love story, another sees a fabulous fable, where one sees poetry, another sees a dystopian tale. Yet all those who respond to the prompt see something. That, at least, all have in common.

No good story is ever quite what it seems. There are hidden streams of thought and experience, symbols, fragments of the writer’s life and perception…and often a twist in the tale. A story captures an image of the world and holds it up for us to see. It is quite apt that a single image can reflect so much of the human story, both in what it inspires and in what it reveals.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com
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18 Responses to Prompting reflection #writephoto

  1. Fandango says:

    I’m so glad that you continue to host #writephoto, Sue. It’s one of my favorite prompts and I look forward to Thursdays to see what photo you’ll feature that sets off the imaginations of those of us who participate.

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  2. I love the fact that the writers interpret the images in so many different ways, and challenge our perceptions. Mind you, you seem to have a wonderful array of thought-provoking images to get their creative juices flowing, Sue! 🙂

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  3. Pingback: Prompting reflection #writephoto — Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo | Fantasy Gift Sources: Book Reviews, Article Resources, News

  4. I’m glad you provide these prompts too Sue. I look forward to Thursdays, as yours was probably the first challenge I took up on a regular basis. Some of the other stories set me thinking too, and that’s what is so wonderful, how we interpret the same thing in a different mind. Long may it continue!

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  5. memadtwo says:

    Nice to know the origins of #writephoto! Your photos always have a lot to say, and the responses show that. Thanks so much for sharing the things you have seen and inviting us to tell you what we see. (K)

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  6. KL Caley says:

    Aww thank you for the mention, Sue. I love the Thursday #writephoto prompt, it is always so inspiring. You have such an eye for catching the beautiful and unique in the world and it is amazing to see how many different ways people are inspired by it, it makes for spectacular reading. I love your source articles on the round-ups too. It’s lovely to hear the inspiration behind the art. KL ❤

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