When you look at any picture, do you only see what is right in front of your eyes? Or do you see more? Maybe you can see romance. Or maybe you are someone who reads mystery and intrigue into everything you see.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but it is up to the author to write those thousand words. (Richard Petracca) Will you be the one to write those thousand words?
I’m going to share some pictures with you in this article. You need to study each picture, ask “what if” questions and come up with stories that could be written based on each one. Allow your imagination to take flight and explore all possibilities.
The picture to your right shows an abandoned house in the woods in West Virginia. At first glance, the house appears to be a nice place to live. Why would its owners abandon it?
When Charles Manson was a child, for a time he lived with his aunt and uncle in McMechon, West Virginia. I highly doubt that this was the house, but what if evil spirits present in the house he stayed in encouraged him to kill people?
What if this house was the site of a gruesome murder?
What if bank robbers hid out here to enjoy their loot before turning on each other?
What if this was a loving couple’s dream home until a rumpus of phantoms came out and scared them away?
What if . . .
The broken windows, damaged siding, and missing half-step leading to the porch all say that this house has definitely seen better days. What could have happened here that would keep this house empty of residents?
What if the family abandoned the house in the middle of the night for unknown reasons? What if it was a shroud of ghouls that caused them to flee into the darkness of night?
What if someone new to the area pays no attention to the rumors floating around about this house and buys it?
What if all the creatures who live in the wood surrounding this house have made it their home? How would they react to “intruders?”
What if someone tries to have this house torn down?
What if. . .
The houses in the picture to the right are in Wroughton, England. In most towns, there are houses joined together like this. They are called terraced houses. Since these houses are empty and are not for sale or rent, I would consider them to be abandoned.
The first thing I want to know is what happened in these residences. Why are they no longer for sale or rent?
What if inside there is so much damage that these houses are no longer safe to live in? What caused the damage?
What if these houses are inhabited by those you cannot see with the naked eye? Does an academy of apparitions make their home here? Maybe a degradation of wraiths scares away anyone who comes to look at the houses. A racket of banshees would only terrorize potential buyers more. And a blanket of poltergeists would throw things at the ones who still weren’t scared away.
What if. . .
This abandoned farmhouse looks deceptively peaceful. The field of flowers gives it a light that would otherwise be absent. The outside is a bit worn, so it could stand to have some repairs made, but it doesn’t appear to be haunted or deadly or filled with things that would want to hurt anyone.
For some reason, the first thing I thought of when I saw this picture Children of the Corn, but there are no corn fields. Next, I thought of dolls. Dolls can be beautiful, but dolls can also be creepy.
What if two little sisters used to live there with their mommy and daddy? What if these two little girls collected dolls? Of course, the dolls they collected would vary depending on the year your story takes place.
What if each of their dolls had their own chilling past?
What if these dolls only purpose was to add to their “family?” And what if the entire family living in this house disappeared without a trace?
Or—and this is a complete turnaround for me—what if a young married couple looking for a home finds this abandoned farmhouse? What if they are able to homestead and claim it for their own?
What does it take for them to remodel and make this farmhouse beautiful again? What hardships do they experience while doing so? Does doing this bring them closer or pull them apart?
What if. . .
It is obvious the direction my mind wanders when looking at pictures. 🙂 I know there are more writing prompts out there for each of them, but it is up to you, the one writing the story, to come up with them. They could slant towards mystery, romance, historical fiction, or thrillers. Stories for children or young people would also be an option. But it is up to you, the writer to come up with stories for each one that suits your style of writing.
The last picture is of an abandoned slave cabin. What if the slaves who lived here were treated as family members by the ones who owned them? What if they were beaten and abused? The quality of their lives would, after all, depend on how they were treated.
What if two of the slaves who lived in this cabin were in love with each other?
What if two or more of the slaves who lived here hated each other?
What if one of the slaves who lived here was a favorite of the master?
What if the slaves who lived here were working on a plan to escape? Where were they planning on going? Was their plan successful or not? If not, what was their punishment for attempting to leave?
What kind of things happened in this cabin? How many children were there?
What if one of the slaves who lived there placed a curse on the future residents of this cabin?
What if. . .
Cat in Front of Fireplace Picture Writing Prompts
Road Through the Woods Picture Writing Prompts
Picture Writing Prompts – Chess Land, Mud Maid in the Lost Gardens, and an Igloo
An Academy of Apparitions