Monday, 19 May 2014

Start your story with an old photograph

At Writers Connect, group leader Oz brought in some old black-and-white photographs for us to use as prompts for a writing exercise. I picked out one picture but didn't get a copy of it. In retro I could have snapped it on my phone. Oh well. It was a 1960's scene of a busy high street. Here's the garbled vignette I produced:

Where'd you get that shirt mate, 1965?”

The teens nudged each other, sniggering.

He looked down, perplexed. “Well, yeah.” He took the box out of his pocket. The LED still flashed.

What's that?” Teen 1 asked.

Something I made,” he mumbled. He looked around. Not much was different, but the roads were busier, the pavements jammed full of style-less people, the buildings glassier. Yet despite all this, the town was quieter, more stealthily hostile.

The photographer was nowhere to be seen. He'd been stood right in front of him, taking his picture and getting a shopper and her young son in the frame by chance. They weren't here, but hundreds of others were.

The camera guy,” he said to the teens. “Where is he?”

Which one?” a boy says. “Everyone's got cameras.” He waves a metal rectangle at him, a thin box.

Look,” the man says. “He gave me this.” He pulls the picture out of his cordoroys, a monochrome scene of the street, structurally the same but the street is now visually odd- cluttered, fierce. He held up the picture to compare. That's when he registered the gaping hole where his head should have been. The picture itself was deteriorating.

So, yeah, sorry about the inverted Back to the Future reference- when you've only got 10 minutes you've got to write whatever comes into your head. Old photos can be a good impetus for a creative writing piece.

No comments: