SFAP AND Monday Poetry Train!


If you’re curious about SFAP (Scene From a Picture–Snarky Reader Style) click here for details.  In brief, this is a constant feature of the Write Snark that invites readers to open up their creativity and write from a visual image.  A poem, a line, a scene–it’s up to you.


The current image and deadline is always displayed on the SFAP page above and if you’d like to read the incredible past offerings from Snarky Readers, you can explore in that category to the right.   We didn’t have any entries on the last image, but I did use it in a roughdraft scene in my new WIP, so I thought I’d share. 


Since it has a bit of a poem, I’m also jumping on Rhian’s Monday Poetry Train.    


This part of the forest pricked along my skin, a static caress that bordered on pain.  There was a coldness in the air that didn’t breathe crisp or clean as winter air should.  This felt more like slush– dirty, cold and wet.  I wanted to hold my breath to keep it out of my lungs. 

With one step inside, I’d understood why the witches had set their concert here.  Kneeling, I dug my fingers into the soil.  Dark ripples moved up my arm.  I flicked the dirt off and scrubbed my hands on my jeans but the blackness remained, alive and hungry.     

These woods housed magic.   

Deep, ancient and nothing like the friendly, curious magic of Nikolos’ home.  No, this place had been fed on darker helpings.  It was visible in the gray-tinged bark and the rotting, alarmingly small piles of shriveled, cracking leaves.  The trees held on with a desperation one could see in the roots which had literally crawled above the dirt as if gasping for clean air after an earth too tainted for nutrients.  They twisted and snarled along the surface.  I expected them to take on life–wrap around my ankles, suck me below and smother me into fertilizer. 

I was nothing’s food.  

Catching Blythe’s shiver out of the corner of my eye, it occurred to me that in her current state, the little witch could very easily end up a meal.  I tightened my hands into fists.  Not on my watch, she wouldn’t.  “Blythe, do you have any herbs in that silly bag that could numb you to this place?” 

She met my eyes, her own fixed and glassy as if she was already being pulled under. 

Frowning, I snapped my fingers in front of her face.  “Hey, shake it off!”

She blinked, shuddered and frowned as she reached out to stroke one hand down the trunk of a Blackjack Oak.  “My mentor, Sophie, taught me this rhyme when I was three. 

 ‘The spill of dark magic

 Upon our Mother Earth

Renders blood and death

In place of rebirth.’ 

She wrapped her arms around her middle.  “This place, Beri, is so long past rebirth.  What kind of person does such a thing?”

I curled my lip.  “Probably the kind who teaches a toddler such a rhyme.”


And here is the next image.  Deadline is September 1st, 2007.




About Rinda Elliott

Writer.I love unusual stories and credit growing up in a family of curious life-lovers who moved all over the country. Books and movies full of fantasy, science fiction and romance kept us amused, especially in some of the stranger places. For years, I tried to separate my darker side with my humorous and romantic one. I published short fiction, but things really started happening when I gave in and mixed it up. When not lost in fiction, I love making wine, collecting music, gaming and spending time with my husband and two children. I’m represented by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Agency.
This entry was posted in My Writing Life, Poet?, Scene From A Pic and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to SFAP AND Monday Poetry Train!

  1. Ann says:

    That is an awesome picture, I love the roots on that tree. It reminds me of some of the trees where I grew up. Great snippet too, lots of possibility in that. Are you going to share more? Please?

  2. Joy Renee says:

    that picture is enthralling. i can’t stop staring at it.
    and the story to go with it has me equally intrigued.

  3. I curled my lip. “Probably the kind who teaches a toddler such a rhyme.”

    Wonderfully wicked.

  4. relliott4 says:

    Ann, there is only bits and pieces of that WIP. It’s part of my second book in an urban fantasty series I’m writing. I’m actively trying to sell the first now.

    Glad you guys found it intriguing. I love having a great visual aid to describe a setting. 😉

  5. julia says:

    Really amazing photograph. It does set my muse buzzing. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

    Your snippet was enticing. I especially the part about the air feeling like slush. Very visceral.

  6. julia says:

    I especially love leaving out the word ‘love’…

  7. gautami says:

    That photo is too good. I kept looking at it.

  8. Very good excerpt. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. Awesome pic of that tree! It sure looks magickal. 🙂

  10. relliott4 says:

    Don’t you love pics that inspire the imagination? If you follow back to some of the SFAP entries, there are a couple that really inspired. Wait, I’ll share the links.


    And this one was one of the sexier images I challenged them with. Boy, did the Snark readers come through!


    The second picture of the figure behind smoked glass is the current Scene From a Pic challenge image, so if anyone is inspired, feel free to submit your writing. I’ll publish it on the due date and give links to your blogs. 🙂

  11. relliott4 says:

    Oh and for those who asked for more… I do have two entire short pieces on the page tabs above. They were done in writing challeges from readers here to me. I still owe one to Heather… It may end up being a novella, though…

    The Valen Greer ended up a whole different story in rewrites, but that’s the roughdraft.

  12. rhian says:

    gorgeous language! Very rich – luscious actually. And the photos are phenominal.

  13. relliott4 says:

    Why thanks, Rhian. 🙂

  14. sniv says:

    I like that next image. It makes me want to write something for it. 🙂

  15. relliott4 says:

    Sniv, every single time I look at the new image, I start singing “Who can it be knocking at my door?”

    Probably before your time. 😉

  16. (I just found this in my documents. Forgot to send it.)

    Stony, stoic heart
    Hurting the ones who love you
    Tearless and wooden.

  17. Laura says:

    I have to admit, Rinda, I had to look that lyric up… At any rate, this photo sparked a bit of fiction for me, and I really enjoyed working on it. It’s called “David”:

    If I stare long enough, I can almost see his outline through the mottled panes. A palm. Fingertips. Wishful thinking.

    “You really shouldn’t miss him. He was never good to you.”

    Amber light traces his outline, and I wonder if he could really be so far away.


    Resting his face in his hands, he closed his eyes and pretended I wasn’t there. I’m not. Or, I am, but he’s not resting his face in his hands anymore.

    “It looks like rain tonight.”

    “Mom, is that you?”

    Has it only been three days?

    “I don’t know why you would date a man like that in the first place. I wonder if he ever cared about anyone in his life.”

    It was his heavy eyes. A look that took a swim in your soul. That didn’t require sincerity.

    “What were you saying?”

    So beautiful.

    “It’s ok. You don’t have to say it.”

    My homme fatale.

    I refocus my gaze, and the ghost disappears.

  18. relliott4 says:

    You had to look it up. I feel old. Did you get Men at Work?

    Oh, Laura!!! This is good!!!! Can’t wait to post it!

    Heather, darn it. How about I post this with the next one and just refer it back to this pic? Tearless and wooden stole my breath.

  19. Elaine says:

    Hi RInda,
    Thought I’d submit a piece this time. Called ‘Face at the Door’ – very original title! 🙂

    His T-shirt read ‘Trust Me.’ The words grabbed my attention as soon as I opened the door. Bright red letters stretched across a broad, firm chest. I clenched my fingers around the doorknob to prevent them reaching out to touch, and then I looked at his face.

    It was an ordinary face – you know, eyes, nose, mouth and the rest – but it was different, like I couldn’t focus on his features properly. My eyes looked into his and then slipped away as if unable to hold their position like a new skier on a steep slope.

    I mumbled “Hello?” as I repeatedly blinked to clear the disturbance to my vision.

    “I would like to speak to the owner.”

    “That would be me.” I grimaced and blinked again. Surely he noticed my discomfort.

    “I need to retrieve something from your backyard.” His voice was warm, soft, easy on the ears. He had no accent; I couldn’t place him at all and I usually can.

    “Sure. Is it a ball or something?”

    He paused. “Or something.”

    “Oh. Okay. There is a gate around the side you can go through.”

    “Thank you.”

    He turned and began to walk down the steps. His taut rear-end captured my attention. My eyes stayed put this time.

    “Wait. I’ll show you.” I ran swiftly down the steps, brushing against him in my haste to prolong the meeting. Warm. Solid.

    “Thank you.”

    Polite. My list of his assets was growing. I wonder if he knew he was being catalogued?

    “Are you a local? I haven’t seen you around here before. Are you working at one of my neighbours’? Are you a relative?” I felt the heat of a blush rush up my throat. I pressed my lips together to stop my runaway curiosity. Or should I say mouth?

    “No, no, no.”

    “Huh?” I stopped and turned to face him.

    “I answered your questions.” He smiled. I smiled back. Couldn’t help myself. He had the smile. You know, the smile that floors you, stops you dead in your tracks and turns you into a wilting flower. The smile.

    I stood motionless as he walked past me, through the gate, into my backyard. And continued to impersonate a statue as he strode back out again a short while later. At least I think it was a short while: time has no meaning for a woman entranced.

    He was carrying something. He stopped as he reached me and smiled again.
    “Thank you.”

    And he walked away.

    Jennifer found me two hours later. Still standing there mooning after him. She had to slap me across the face to get my attention. Good thing she’s my best friend.

    Later, sipping my coffee, I looked out at the hole in the middle of my lawn. What had been in it? Where had it come from? Did he have my phone number?

  20. relliott4 says:

    Hi Elaine! And wow, did you ever raise questions with this piece. Thanks for submitting! I’ll be putting these up tomorrow or Sunday. 🙂

  21. Pingback: SFAP–Halloween is Coming! « The Write Snark

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