Writing from a Photo Prompt


I took this photo the last time I went to Africa. I played around with it a bit and changed it to black and white. I was hoping it would inspire me to come up with a little story about it, perhaps a witty caption. I’m still searching for a story for this photo to tell.

I’ve often read in writing magazines and online that a good way to start writing again, to beat blocks or boredom, is to use a photo prompt. Granted, most of the prompts you see are a little more advanced than this one. What I mean is, they have much more going on.

I like the idea of taking a photo and trying to come up with a story behind it. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or mind-blowing. But I like that it gets the creative and imaginative juices swirling. Well, it should. Currently, I’m drawing a blank  on what this wonderful elephant could be doing as he tiptoes through the shallow marshes of the river. Is he part of a herd? Is he leading the herd or bringing up the rear? Has he been shunned? Is he hanging back to show himself off to possible suitors? Is it even a “he” elephant?

Hmmm, perhaps there might be a story brewing after all. Happy writing folks. And as always, feel free to comment and start your own stories.



15 thoughts on “Writing from a Photo Prompt

  1. While I like the photo, I’d be at a loss to wrap a story around it. Much too right brained here. I know, sad. Adding images to my post is often the last act prior to publishing. That’s enough creativity for this B&W mind. Happy writing returned.

    • I remember the first time I went to Africa. My tour group, 12 of us, were sitting around a floodlit waterhole at 11 at night when a crash of rhinos sauntered up. There were 4 of them. A solitary rhino joined them later but stood on the fringes and a couple of us from the tour group just broke into a wildlife/soap opera documentary on the spot explaining why the rhino had been shunned. Sadly, I can’t come up with anything for this elephant yet.

  2. Somehow this came to mind: Once upon a time, there was an elephant… Ok a little lame maybe, but might just lead to a masterpiece? Haha. This photo also made me think of Raju, the recently rescued elephant in India who shed tears as he was being freed after 50 years of abuse and captivity.

  3. Reblogged this on Musings by Melanie Dawnn and commented:
    I’m finding that photos and images can provide a Good opening for creativity. When dealing with writer’s block it can be the spark to at least brainstorm a thought or feeling. And as the blogger mentioned, it could lead to questions which can help in writing about the answer.

    • Thank you for stopping by my blog and even using this post. Much appreciated. I hope this can help your readers with their own problems.

  4. Beautiful photos. They actually made me tear up a little. Your post reminded me of an article I read a few weeks ago. The source is PBS.org and the title is “Unforgettable Elephants”. Here’s an excerpt.

    Compassion and Altruism

    Compassion is not reserved for offspring alone in elephant society. Elephants appear to make allowances for other members of their herd. Observers noted that one African herd always traveled slowly because one of its members had never recovered from a broken leg. And in another case, a park warden reported a herd that traveled slowly because one female was carrying around a dead calf. One perplexing report was of an adult elephant making repeated attempt to help a baby rhinoceros stuck in the mud. She continued to try to save the baby rhino despite the fact that its mother charged her each time. Risking her life for the sake of an animal that is not her own, not related to her, or even her own species is remarkably altruistic in nature.

    While there is a great deal more to learn about what elephants feel, such accounts are astonishing. They reveal a creature that weeps, revels, rages and grieves. They lead us to believe that the depth of elephant emotional capacity knows no limit. They are striking for they suggest that elephants act on feelings and not solely for survival.

    • Animals are so much better than we are. Thanks for reading and commenting. And for adding me as a favourite.
      There was also a tale of a group of elephants who forage the same path year after year and to get to a certain spot they have to cross farm land. They actually take the time to step over the fence so as not to break it down; even helping the little ones find the smaller sections. It’s great.

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