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.