Telling a Picture's Story

>> Friday, July 1, 2011

Some time back, Relax Max did an exercise on his blog where he took a picture and wrote a scene to describe it, as if you were putting that scene in a book. Naturally, I had to try my hand at that, too. At the time, I assured him, I'd return the favor when I'd found just the right picture.

Well, boys and girls, here's a winner from Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino. And, hey, it doesn't even have dialog to get in the way. You don't have to assume vampires, of course, but then that will mean pushing the ol' imagination just a bit further. Me too, especially since I know the real characters. It's interesting enough I might talk about that on the next post since my daughter and I had a conversation about it. But first, the exercise (click for a bigger version of the picture)!

When Kadon opened his door to the pounding that sounded even over the wind, he was unsurprised to see someone so close to death. After all, with his home just outside the village walls, his was frequently the first place--the only place--a survivor could go. A glance told him this one had only moments yet to live. Blood stained his shirt, his hands, from a vicious slashes to the throat. Kadon shook his head and tried to close the door.

The man surprised him by wedging his body into the door before Kadon could close it. His body might be fading, but his spirit was strong. Oh well, those were the ones most likely to be attacked by the nightbeasts. It was miraculous he had made it this far. "Please," the man begged.

Kadon was not a sympathetic soul but felt something approaching pity. "There is nothing to be done. Your wounds are too grievous."

"We were attacked! The Queen--," That explained the uniform and the foolhardiness of anyone out in these woods at night. The Queen, famed for her sorcery, probably thought her magic could protect her against the nightbeasts. "You have to save her!" The smell of blood was overwhelming and sweet, familiar...appealing.

"She's hardly my problem," Kadon said, but left the door open so the man could stumble in. "I doubt there is naught left to save if any were foolish enough to try to do so." Kadon felt his voice grow cold. "She and her armies have all but eliminated the nightbeasts in every corner of the country save here. She was an idiot to think she could pass through their last remaining stronghold unscathed."

The man had fallen to his knees and Kadon unconsciously crouched in front of him to catch his rasping whisper. "No...choice."

Daynor! Kadon would have stood at that, but the man grabbed him by the shirt, his fancy pistol still in his bloodstained hands. "That's impossible," Kadon said. Kadon was no friend to the Queen, but anyone was better than the Black Viper of Westrim. Death Merchant. Soulstealer. The Queen had been brutal in suppressing those magical factions she deemed a threat, but at least those were clean deaths, not the unholy experiments Daynor favored, the tortures and torments he reveled in.

"No...time..." the man gasped, pulling on Kadon with his last bit of strength. ""

"I told you. It's too late for her unless she's in your pocket. It's even too late for you. If she was the sorceress she claimed to be, she should have found some way to escape."

"She...did..." the man breathed and, to Kadon's shock, latched his mouth to his neck, over the artery. At first, Kadon thought he meant to attack until he felt the cold shock of another soul entering his body, his mind, trying to subvert him as the man's body fell, lifeless, to the floor.

You, he accused. You will not take me over as easily as this man.

The unmistakable essence of the Queen laughed, though it was not a joyful sensation. Good. A weak man would not serve my purpose nor leave me any hope to regain my country.

You will not possess me.

Perhaps. I've a strong will, too. But you will not easily be quit of me either.

Kadon felt the truth of those words. But then, he knew something the Queen did not. You should have found a different host, Majesty. I am not an ordinary man.

With no effort, he transformed, shredding his bloody clothes with his massive new form: King Panther. Without a word, he began to feed on the warm flesh and last vestiges of spirit remaining in the Queen's henchman.

If he expected her horror, he waited in vain. She was so silent as he began his feast he wondered if she had, indeed, fled until she spoke at last with smug satisfaction.



  • Jeff King

    That's some story...

  • Stephanie Barr

    It's quite a picture. I didn't think a story going with the, "Hey, you have a little whipped cream on your neck, let me suck it off," premise would quite be enough.

    RM will probably be appalled to know I didn't really have a story in mind when I started writing (here in the post, not elsewhere) except I didn't want to go vampire, wanted to avoid the original story and didn't particularly want to go with romance. The only thing I was sure of when I started was that I wanted the dark-haired guy to be reticent and reserved.

    As frequently happens, however, the story wrote itself in fairly short order (~30 minutes) and would have gone even faster if I hadn't had to stop to deal with a toddler several times, including a nail trimming.

    Not my best work and more than a little cliche, but I'm not ashamed of it either.

  • Relax Max

    Interesting story. Very. I note you broke your sacred vow of not doing manga manga here on this blog anymore. No matter. You will allow me to skeptically assert that your story wasn't in the least inspired by the picture, though. You know very well that picture doesn't suggest all that stuff. It only serves as an incidental illustration to the beginning of your story. I hope you don't take offense. You simply made up a [good] story and put a semi-random picture on top of it. Still, a pretty darn good "stream of consciousness" word painting, if I may say. But any other manga/mango pic (almost) would have allowed you to say the same things. Still, I like your story, uninspired by the picture as it was. Your fertile imagination shows you don't need a picture to wind you up and set you to writing. :) Well, I can't even see it's face, so I'm drawing a blank here. It doesn't suggest anything to me except that he/she probably shared the same tailor with Michael Jackson. You were good enough to play MY game though, so I will try harder and come back. My story will probably involve a humiliating trip to a bad barber and the resulting hari-kari variant with a Japanese TASER. I won't be able to do one as long as yours unless I forget about using the photo for EVERYTHING. Watch your back.

    Good job. :)

  • Stephanie Barr

    I'm not saying everything in my story is covered by the picture - I used it for inspiration. Covering the diverse and unusual elements (gun, uniform, bloody injury, and mouth on another guy's neck) was my goal. In that, I felt like I managed it.

    I don't know of another picture I've seen that would match the story, but, if you find one, feel free to post it. I would, in fact, love to see it.

    And note it's not manga manga, but just a picture from manga with a story entirely unrelated to the original manga with it. Given that it's about the writing, this blog seemed the appropriate venue.

  • Relax Max

    Well, I admire your ability to take a small idea and build on it to make a longer and interesting story. I was just going to come here an tell you that when I saw you had already posted a response. And I'm sorry to be disrespectful of the term Manga. Just because I am not into that form does not mean I can make fun of it when others like it. Sorry.

  • Relax Max

    Anyway, I'm not finding fault with your story; your story is great. It's just that the game I wanted to play is a little different. Not better, different. In my game, everything you say must revolve around the picture, not just be initially inspired by it. In my game, you must select a photo and tell what you think is going on in that photo. You must erase any caption or original authors words, and just describe the action within that photo. I'll still play it your way if you let me.

  • Relax Max

    To get the hang of my impromptu game, find a child's little story book which is mostly pictures and very little writing on the bottom. Cover up what little writing there is and then "read" the book to your child using your own imagination as you turn the pages. Say whatever the pictures suggest to you, not what you think the author is writing about. That's the game. Thinking on your feet just as fast as you turn the pages.

  • Stephanie Barr

    I'm not mad and I can see what you're saying. The problem is me. I just don't paint inside the lines very well. You can't give me a "little" inspiration and expect me to stick within parameters. I've tried. Can't do it.

    In high school, I was given the assignment to write an essay about "a common every day item like an old shoe." I wrote about a dilapidated teddy bear (I didn't even own) and made up a whole story about the girl who loved it but died, how it waited in the girl's room, kept just as she'd left it, for the girl who would never come back.

    My creative writing instructor in college punctuated everything he said with, "I don't know why you're taking this class. You already have a style."

    I just can't be trusted.

    And you can play the game however you like. I'm not the referee, just like to play.

  • Stephanie Barr

    RM, if I played that game, we'd never get off the first page. My story would go too fast.

  • Relax Max

    Brindle-san had almost completely changed into a fly now, his humanity a distant memory.

    “BzzzzPleezzzz KILL Brindle NOW!!!”, he rasped as the lizard lady’s spongy slog of a face fell away in chunks until what he had been kissing only seconds before lay in chunks on the floor like half-cooked walmart hamburger meat. Only her chin and part of her forehead remained to form a crescent head.

    “Bzzz PLEEZZZZZ!”

    But it was too late. Her fingers had webbed too much now, until they couldn’t pass through the trigger guard. All she could do was hiss from her open throat as Brindle’s digestive vomit oozed like foul lava down her wrinkled neck and over her silly Boy Scout bandana.

    “Why? Why?” she slimed in his ear with her now-forked tongue. “Why did you make me wear this hideous Roy Rogers cowboy shirt? Can’t you see them laughing at us?” Brindle could see her vocal cords vibrating as she painfully croaked out the words.

    Brindle-san quivered, shaking his bug-hair in a blur, sending digestive projectiles flying in all directions. He could see, all right. His comic compound eyes saw a thousand little kaleidoscope Roy Rogers shirts slowly spinning in a circle.

    “Bzzzzuh...Bzzzzuh....BzzzJESUS! Just do it!”’

    Lizardisha felt her webbed hands growing claws now. Soon the trigger would be hers.

  • Stephanie Barr


  • Jeff King

    Nice... lol.

Post a Comment


Blog Makeover by LadyJava Creations