Monday, 15 September 2008

Portrait of Words #1

Jeff (A Word in Edgewise) has started up this monthly challenge, derived from a previous challenge from R.E.H.'s "Picture Fiction Challenge".

Each month Jeff gives FOUR pictures which represent THE CATEGORIES and THREE pictures which represent THE WILD CARDS.

The object is to:
Write a story of any length or style. Long or short, comedy or tragedy, fact or fiction, etc,etc... it's up to you.
Use each of the picture representations in your story. (one from the wild card options)

Here are the guidelines:


Main Character(s): Your story can be told through or about this person(s), i.e. first or third person. Either way you go, their involvement in the story should be a focal point. Have as many or as few additional characters as you wish, but at least one of the ones pictured should be central to the overall story.

Backdrop: This will create the setting for your story. It can take place at the location depicted, be a destination to it, or be a journey from it.
Purpose: This is what drives or motivates the main character(s) to action. It can also be viewed as the objective of the story.

Purpose: This is what drives or motivates the main character(s) to action. It can also be viewed as the objective of the story.

Item(s): The object(s) should have a significant value to the main character, backdrop or purpose of the story.

Wild Card: Writers choice here. Choose one of the three options to use in your story anyway you see fit.

Here are the portraits for the basis of the story.

Here's my story:

Carrying his bag containing his photographic equipment, Julian boarded the plane from Glasgow to Heathrow. He had been hired to do a photo shoot for a magazine at Hampton Court Palace and was really looking forward to it.

“Kings Arms Hotel, Hampton Court Road” Julian told the driver of the taxi he hailed at Heathrow.

He’d booked the hotel by email a few days before, for two nights, the shoot would only take day but he’d arrive the day before and would leave the morning after. The hotel was reasonably priced for a hotel in such a location but Julian was glad it was only for a couple of days, as a musician he didn’t earn much which was why he’d been glad of the opportunity to do the photo shoot, unfortunately he wouldn’t get paid for it until it was over. Music was his first love but he was a damned good photographer too and it was this talent that paid the bills and enabled him to take lesser paid music jobs.

Checking into the hotel Julian asked if there were any messages for him, the clerk handed him a note.

“9.00 a.m. tomorrow at the Clock Court. Show this pass at the entrance to the Palace” informed the note.

“Ah, not too early a start” thought Julian as he made his way to his room.

Peering round the dining room Julian was surprised to discover it full. There was just one seat empty at a table for two, the other seat being occupied by a rather pretty, blonde young woman.

“Excuse me, would you mind?” asked Julian touching the back of the vacant seat.

“Not at all, please help yourself” said the woman who was not just pretty but stunning close-up.

During dinner Julian discovered that both he and Cathy, his dining companion, were actually on the same shoot, she was one of the models. She was excited about the shoot because she said she felt an affinity with Hampton Court; she just wished she was modelling the clothes of the era of the surroundings instead of the fashion of today. After dinner they sat in the hotel lounge with their brandies, talking as though they’d known each other forever, Cathy told how she still lived with her parents in Galloway where her father bred shire horses,

“Amazing” said Julian “I’m living in Glasgow” and proceeded to tell her about the orchestras he’d played with and how money from his photography enabled him to pursue his love of music.

Next morning they met in the foyer, having agreed to walk to the Palace together, it being only a cock-stride away. The other models and the people from the magazine were waiting for them as they reached Clock Court and led the way into the Palace and the gallery they were using for the shoot. Julian set up his tripod and camera and made a start as the models took it in turns to pose against the gallery windows.

Peering through the telephoto lens Julian was amazed to see Cathy entering the gallery wearing Tudor dress. She looked stunning and he reeled off half a roll of film before looking up to speak to her. As he looked up he saw Cathy disappear only to reappear a few seconds later wearing a modern dress, which left nothing to the imagination – she looked amazing whatever she wore. After the shoot they were allowed to join a tour of the Palace and the grounds. Cathy bought a catalogue and souvenirs, she promised to lend the catalogue to Julian when she’d finished with it as he was interested in the photos. At dinner that evening Julian secured Cathy’s telephone number, promising to cook her dinner when they got home, “You can bring the catalogue” he said.

As soon as Julian arrived home he was in the dark room processing the films, which he sent off to the magazine for approval. Of course he kept the negatives until they had been approved and he had printed duplicates of the ones of Cathy in the Tudor dress to show her when she came for dinner, he thought she’d like copies being so interested in the period and place.

A few weeks later Cathy arrived at his flat for the dinner he’d promised her. The shoot had been a success, his photographs had been accepted and more importantly he’d been paid. He’d splashed out on champagne and the best ingredients for dinner to impress Cathy, and she was impressed. They talked late into the evening and Cathy complimented him on the photographs he’d taken of her at Hampton Court which the magazine had shown her.

“The one of you in Tudor dress was my favourite, in fact I printed off a couple for you to keep.” Julian passed the prints to Cathy whose face was blank as she flicked through them.

“I haven’t seen these” she said.

“Don’t you like them?” asked Julian

“They’re lovely but they’re not me” replied Cathy.

She reached for the Hampton Court catalogue she’d brought with her and flipped through it. Picking up one of the prints she put it against one of the portraits in the catalogue.

“Your photograph looks remarkably like Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife!    You do know that was the Haunted Gallery where we did the shoot don’t you?” Cathy asked Julian.

I hope you liked my effort.   Do go over to Jeff's and click on Mr. Linky to read the other entries.


Jeff B said...

Ha!...I knew you'd treat us to a twist at the end.

Fortunately, the modern day Cathy was able to keep her head.

We both went the haunted mansion route, but by completely different means. I'm loving this.

jennifer said...

Oh I LOVE the twist at the end. Very cool story!

Dumdad said...


Flowerpot said...

ever thought of writing novels Ak?!!

CrazyCath said...

Love the twist at the end. You and Jeff both did ghost story routes! This is such fun seeing how people interpreted the images in different ways.

Mine's up here
Come see when you have time.

buffalodickdy said...

Very nice! Your patented twist at the end is always what I wait for!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh good one!!! nice ending!

smiles, bee

Akelamalu said...

I noticed we'd gone for the haunted theme when I read yours this morning but didn't say so in case is spoilt mine for you. Glad you liked it Jeff and I really enjoyed doing it. :)

Thankyou Jennifer and welcome to my little corner of the world. :)

Spooky it is Dumdad!

No Flowerpot I'm not disciplined enough to write a novel, short stories are about my limit.

It's fascinating how people interpret the same images isn't it Cath?

Oh I hope I can keep coming up with a twist then Buff, I'd hate to disappoint you. x

Many thanks Bee, I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. x

G-Man said...

Historical with Irony!!!
Definately Pearl-Handled!!!
Have a Great Week....G

Cherie said...

Very entertaining. Loved the ghost story. Reminded me of a castle that I visited in Kent. With all the portraits on the walls, I wouldn’t have been surprised if one of them had been a ghost. I’m amazed how we can each get such different stories from the same pictures.

And thank you for stopping by my place and your kind words. Much appreciated.

Gledwood said...

That's v creative... I'm still puzzling over my novelistic story...

Gledwood said...

Hey I just noticed ur Chinese calligraphy btw. Love it!

Akelamalu said...

g-man you're a card! LOL

It is interesting how very different stories emerge from the same pictures isn't it Cherie?

Thanks Gleds. The calligraphy is Japanese for the Reiki Precepts set out below it. I'm a Reiki Practitioner.

Daryl said...

You really are a gifted writer ... really


Julia Smith said...

I thought he was seeing a previous version of her. But maybe not...

Loved what you did with the prompts.

Travis said...

Ahhhhhh...your twists are always wonderful! Well done!

rebecca said...
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katherine. said...

I loved your twist as well...I will be back to read more of your posts!

CrystalChick said...

This was a good read! I'll head over to Jeff's and check out some others.
Have a nice day. :)

Akelamalu said...

And you're very kind to say so Daryl thank you muchly! :)

There was an element of that in it Julia though she wasn't aware of it!

Aw gee thanks Trav x

Welcome Katherine, I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. Come back anytime. :)

Thanks Crystalchick, I'm sure you'll enjoy the others too. :)

Sandi McBride said...

Loved it! Already had thought of a ghost story angle for this...lovely...I'm back, have missed visiting you...glad to be back!

Shrinky said...

Ah, a wonderful twist at the end! Well crafted, too - I do so love your tales.

storyteller said...

You, my dear, are AMAZING and this new challenge seems to be right up your alley! Love the (now expected but unforeseen) ‘twist’ at the end. Bravo ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Deb said...

It is so much fun to read your stories. You always pull me in and hold my attention until the end. If I ever make an award for super imagination, best creative writer I am awarding it to you!

This Guy said...

Wow! You too have an amazing place in the blogging world! I just love your blog! Thanks for visiting mine! :)

Yes, Cancer... Geeze, what can I even say. It ties with alzheimer's for being the worse diseases!

I'm so glad we found each others blogs! :) I can't wait to check back!

Ps. You are a wonderful writer and have a beautiful family! :)

Akelamalu said...

Great to see you back Sandi. You'd be so good at this exercise, might you join in?

Aw thanks Shrinky x

You're too kind Storyteller. I'm so pleased you enjoy my efforts. :)

How kind of you Deb thankyou. x

Welcome This Guy I'm so pleased you stopped by. It's always a pleasure to find new blogs, I'm glad I found yours. :)

Dr.John said...

I too loved the ending. I love surprises. Very well written, very enjoyable story.

Raven said...

Always the mysterious suprise ending. Well done. I had a hard time with this and exercise and once I finished realized that I forgot to include the camera. Posted it anyway.

Akelamalu said...

Why thankyou Dr. John and welcome to my humble abode. :)

I'm sure you've done a wonderful job Raven, I'm on my way to read it now. Glad you enjoyed mine.

Dianne said...

You never disappoint! Wordzzle. Fiction 55. and now POW!

I love how you think and I love that you can put it into words.

Akelamalu said...

You're too kind Dianne, thankyou my friend. x

Lu' said...

I thought it read quite well and best yet, I didn't see the end coming.

Akelamalu said...

That was the idea Lu, I'm happy the surprise ending was a surprise! :)

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