amwriting, Chris Van Allsburg, creativity, imagination, NaNoWriMo, new project, story starters, THE CHRONICLES OF HARRIS BURDICK, THE MYSTERIES OF HARRIS BURDICK, work in progress, writing journey

A Picture’s Worth . . .

Last week I posted about Chris Van Allsburg’s picture book, THE MYSTERIES OF HARRIS BURDICK and its companion book of short stories written by well-known authors, THE CHRONICLES OF HARRIS BURDICK. The images within the picture book are fantastic story starters, and on this first day of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) its possible you may want to take a look at the images for inspiration. A picture’s worth a thousand words or so it’s said, but in order to reach the goal of a 50,000 word novel by the end of November you need to write approximately 1,667 words per day. The images are worth a look as they might get be what gets you started.

:Donna of recommended the two books and responded to my request for readers to share what they’ve written after viewing one of the images. Below is her take on an image from the picture book. She wrote the piece a few years ago when Kathy Temean of was doing picture prompt first page submissions. Enjoy the read!


As he’d done every evening for years, Harold Greeley sat in his straight-back chair, sipped tea from his porcelain cup and gazed out the window of his sitting room. He was very good at sitting, admiring his well-kept garden and pondering his satisfactory lifestyle. For as long as he could remember it was his intent to live this existence he preferred—quiet and quite alone. Harold never needed companionship; not even a pet, furry or otherwise. Too much mess. Too much bother.

Beyond his sturdy, wrought iron fence, his neighbors ran to and fro, day after day—pets and children running amuck, trash cans overturning, hole upon hole with bones buried in yards. In his opinion, it all came down to poor planning—pure and simple. He wondered why, seeing as he lived in their midst, they hadn’t learned from his example. After all, his life was the epitome of order, the idyllic model: well-thought-out, organized and peaceful, that which results from the best-laid plans.

While removing a piece of lint from his pressed trousers, from behind him an unusual sound reached Harold’s ears, as if the carpet was being scratched and shifted. How odd! He twisted ‘round, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Turning back, he sipped his last sip and placed the cup on its saucer which sat on a well-appointed napkin which lay perfectly perpendicular to the corner of the side table.

Harold was admiring the soft sheen of the white china (he having picked the perfect bulb wattage for optimum lighting), when the cup rattled in its saucer. Then a thud at the base of the table caused it to tremor, too! This was more than odd. What on earth was going on?  He peered under the table and saw what looked like a large bulge in the carpet, thinking it must be a shadow cast from the lamp, until—it lurched back, then lunged forward, slamming the table leg! The cup and saucer soared across the room, the lamp and table rocked, threatening to topple, and Harold leapt to his feet. Uncharacteristically, rather than reach to save the lamp from a nosedive, he swiftly lifted the chair above his head, ready to thwack the intruder, only to stop momentarily. He contemplated which repulsed him more: the unwanted, possibly beady-eyed mystery guest—or a bloodstain on his pristine carpet.

If you’re starting NaNoWriMo today, may your words flow effortlessly.

All my best,


2 thoughts on “A Picture’s Worth . . .”

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