There’s enough attitude in this photo to fuel a whole gaggle of stories. It comes courtesy of Aaron Kondziela, www.aaronkondziela.com, who snapped it while on the set of the indie film, Cleric. It’s a character from a surreal, dystopian world sure to jump-start your imagination as well as a few nightmares.
Obviously, he’s a bad guy. In a very brutal world. Survival is uppermost in his mind. He’ll do what he has to do, no matter what. To anyone, no matter who. He carries a rusted (blood-stained?) scissor-like weapon that could cut off fingers or hands. He wears a bandolier studded with ammunition. Who does he work for? What does he get out of it? What has happened to the world to turn this man into the monster he has become?
But look closer. There are a couple of hints of who he used to be – before the awful thing that happened, that destroyed his world. The tattoo on his neck is a flower, a symbol of beauty and serenity. Why? When did he get it? What does it mean? And his coat is fine wool with gold buttons, obviously well cared for in a world where nothing matters but survival. Why? What significance does this expensive jacket have for this man?
Who was he? Who has he lost? What does he cling to? What kind of eyes lurk behind those dark, ancient aviator goggles?
He wears a spiked collar with a ring in front. Is it just to strike terror into the hearts of his enemies and victims? Or is he, too, a victim of circumstance, of the horror that has overtaken the world? Is he a prisoner himself, chained by the neck to a wall at night, forced to do an evil master’s bidding? Look at his nails – are they colored for effect, or discolored by disease, malnutrition or abuse?
What kind of society do you see in this photo that would produce a man such as this? Is it on earth after a devastating war, nuclear holocost or technological disaster? Or is this another world in another galaxy, where life has always been brutal and beauty is to be hoarded – if it can be found?
Keep on writing!
Writing Tip: from Write It Right, Volume 4: Point of View
It’s important to understand the various types of POV – straight, omniscient or classic cmniscient – so we can choose the correct one (or combination) for each story. Knowing the right POV helps us, as writers, understand whose story it is, and which character can tell it best.