Writing Exercise – A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

34380236_1225164817_jazz2Sometimes inspiration for a story hits like a flash. A sound, a smell, a taste. Sometimes, an image will spark a ten-thousand word writing spree that later turns into first two chapters of a three-part epic saga.

The image up there hasn’t sent me careening to my office to capture my thoughts before they escape, but it does make me think. It makes me wonder. It makes me want to know this woman (girl?). It makes me want to learn her story.

Film Noir 2So, today’s writing exercise will be spent doing exactly that. Fifteen minutes and an image.

I’d love to see some other folks join me for my weekly writing exercise. If you feel too vulnerable to share your writing, consider leaving a comment about your experience. Did you write? Did your words flow or did you have to fight for every last one? Do you like what you wrote? Or would you prefer to never look at it again?

Whatever the results, just remember that writing is like any other exercise. It gets easier with practice.

My results from today’s writing prompt is below the cut. Happy writing, all!

random femme fatale

It always starts with a dame, a sexy broad with legs that go on forever, yet you just know she’ll sock you  a good one if you mention how good they look. And she’ll pout if you don’t.

So, yeah, it always starts with a dame. And it always ends with me up to my ass in trouble.

“Sam, please, ya gotta help me.” She exhales a dragon stream of smoke as she speaks. Her cigar smells sweetly of vanilla and lavender, the kind of cigar made just for a woman like her. The kind of cigar that made old Cuban men–artisans who started rolling contraband cigars before they understood what contraband was–cringe and cry out for mercy. Cigars are meant to be stout. Manly.

“Listen doll, I don’t know who told you about me, but I’m out of the damsel-in-distress business.” I could help her, but dames like her always meant trouble. She is an explosive situation just waiting to happen and I don’t want to be there when things went kaboom. I pull a business card from the top drawer of my desk and hand it to her. “Call him. You’re right up his alley.”

Ronald P. Dumpsey, a man who fancies himself as my biggest competition, regularly poaches business from me. To make things simpler, I asked for a stash of his cards so I could filter work his way all legitimate like. I have no idea what his alley looked like or what might be up it, but I need this dame outta my office before the tragedy clinging to her sets up occupancy permanently.

She glances at the card, her eyebrows drawn down in a scowl, and puffs her cigar as she contemplates what I said. Finally, she looks up, crosses her legs, and flicks the card back onto my desk. “No, Sam. You’re the one I want.”

She adjusts her posture, revealing a bit more cleavage in the process. Intended? Accidental? Doesn’t matter as it much improved an already gorgeous view. With one eyebrow cock imperiously , she studies me, staring hard as if daring me to deny her again.

“All right, doll. Why don’t you tell me what you need?”





2 thoughts on “Writing Exercise – A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

  1. Oh shades of Philip Marlowe /Raymond Chandler

    Actually that sounds as though it could be straight out of Ann Aptaker’s. Criminal Gold!


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