Beyond the Runaway Bride

Listless Bride

I found this picture of a listless woman lying on a cold stone step against the setting sun, and I pinned it to a board of idea-prompts. (She’s not dead, by the way. I have decreed it. I don’t find dead bodies very inspiring. ) I captioned it, “This picture asks a lot of “Whys” that could be answered with a story.”

(Fifty other people pinned this picture after I did. I know this because Pinterest excitedly notifies me every time. Never mind that Pinterest and I both know that:

1. I don’t own this picture so why do I care if others are pinning it?
2. The people who pinned it aren’t looking up my ideas. They just did a random search and Pinterest gave them this among seventy-six other options.


A couple of people commented on the picture. One said, “It looks like she’s wearing a wedding dress. Maybe she ran away from her own wedding.” Another agreed, “That’s what I was thinking.”

Seriously? That’s the best you can come up with? Let me guess the rest. Her father is a cold, domineering man with graying hair and steely blue eyes. In need of fortune or political power, he arranges a marriage for his daughter over her heartbroken protests. The man she is supposed to marry is a rich, older widower whose unhappy wife died a few years ago. He probably abused her. Definitely neglected her. Maybe killed her.

The unfortunate bride is actually in love with the son of the neighboring lord. They were children together. He just returned to the estate after a year or two away at war to find out that the little girl he knew had grown up into a beautiful woman.

Right so far? Yup. Train of thought now boarding at Cliche Central Station!

Okay, I admit, it took me a couple of days to come up with other ideas because, well, she’s wearing a wedding dress and she looks exhausted and kind of sad. But I did come up with some! Including:

* Her groom was waylaid by a jealous rival, and she’s waiting for him to come.
* The wedding was interrupted, and she was dragged off to a dungeon to await her fate.
* Even better, her groom was dragged off, and she’s trying to regroup and decide how to save him.

But maybe it’s not a wedding dress at all.

* It’s a royal gown, and she’s a young queen whose advisers turned out to be treacherous.
* It’s a ball gown, but the ball turned out to be a cover for a rebellion and she got caught up in the chaos and ended up here.

See, Pinterest People? There are a lot of possibilities — all it takes is one step beyond your leap to the obvious.

But okay, maybe she is a runaway bride. However, if she did flee her wedding for the sake of her childhood-friend-turned-lover… just know that while he’s muscular, charming, and noble, he totally has freckles and ears that stick out too much.


7 thoughts on “Beyond the Runaway Bride

  1. I say her groom up and ditched *her.* Confused and tormented, she left the church and wandered through the forest until the bottom of her dress became ragged. She didn’t notice or care. Exhausted, she found this old, worn-down abandoned building and lay down there to rest. But of course she can’t sleep, and she is too weary to cry anymore. So she just lays there in the moonlight, with the leaves falling all around, reminding her of the death of her fiance’s love that once was green, and of the tears softly but ceaselessly falling to the floor of her soul.


  2. I’m not sure if that last line is poetry or purple prose, but it’s great. 🙂

    And a bride ditched at the altar… that maybe could use a twist? Maybe? What if her malicious cousin (who is known for stirring up trouble) insisted that the bride’s side of the family is cursed, so they’ll never have a happy or fruitful marriage. And now — he deserted her! Is the curse TRUE?

    Maybe. Or maybe the cousin and the fiance already had something going and decided to cover their tracks.

    I’m sure that during this exhausted, lonely vigil in the moonlight, she will stumble on a revelation that gets the plot going again. She’ll eventually clear away the leaves of her fiance’s dead love, hike up that ragged skirt, and go have a little family chat with the cousin.

  3. This is unpoetical, but I think they were meeting here to elope and due to a horrible but innocent mixup, she got the time wrong. The question is, will she stick it out or will she *assume* he abandoned her?

  4. Haha, there you go! I’m sure that revelation is coming soon. Go kick someone’s deserving hiney, oh scorned bride!

  5. You say the last line in your post as if freckles are a bad thing . . . (I happen to be a sucker for freckles. Good thing my hubby has them!)

    About the picture. It’s lovely. My first thought was some Edwardian retelling of Sleeping Beauty. 🙂 But probably because I have Abby’s story floating about in my head.

  6. Abby, I think I’d find a hunky cowboy pretty inspiring too. Abigail,a freckled guy is a good guy. But they don’t show up too often in passionate romance stories, for some reason. I really wanted to use this picture as a prompt for a Writing Party, but first I had to prove to myself that there really were other scenarios possible. 🙂

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