The Mourning Bird Story

This photo is one of series I discovered on from The photographer caught a pair of birds in the street, where one lay dying. I chose this photo for its amazing poignancy that lends itself so well to a story.

The easiest choice is to write the story behind the picture. Why is one bird dead? Why does the other mourn for it? Where are the birds, and why has this happened to them? What will happen to the survivor? Were humans involved in this death? Do the people on the street stop to help, to watch? Or do they simply walk by, unheeding? What about other birds? Do they try to help the survivor? This alone would be a wonderful, heart-tugging story of love and loyalty in nature.

But look closer. See beyond the obvious. What if these birds were human? Who would they be? Male, female, young, old? Why are they alone, isolated from other people? What is the live person saying? Is she crying, screaming, mourning? Is she angry, frightened, defiant? Is she the killer? Was it done in self-defense or in malice? Is this a ritual of some kind?

As you can see, there are many ways to interpret a photo to find a unique story. What we see does not have to be taken literally. We can use the images to free-associate to places and situations we might never think of on our own. And thereby find an authentic story to write.

Where will your story go?

Susan Tuttle

Comments? Your ideas from this photo…

Word of the Week: Ineluctable (Adj. Lat. in, not + eluctare, to struggle)

Definition: not to be avoided, resisted, changed

Synonyms: Inevitable, necessary, unavoidable, certain

Usage: Faced with ineluctable doom, he still chose to fight on.

About Susan Tuttle

Susan Tuttle is a professional freelance editor, writing instructor and multi-award winning author of 21 books—6 nonfiction on writing (Write It Right), 6 suspense novels and 7 collections of award-winning short stories. She also has stories in both volumes of "Deadlines", the new anthology from the Central Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime (SinC), Tales from a Rocky Coast, and the SLO NightWriter anthology. Under the pen name Susan Grace O'Neill, she is the author of the Journey With Jesus series: Lord, Let Me Grow (Parables) vol. 1, and Lord, Let Me Walk (Lent). She is currently working on volume #2 of her Skylark P.I. series (a PI with paranormal abilities), as well as 2 YA fantasy series. And she teaches fiction writing in both the morning and afternoon every Wednesday. Email her if you're interested in joining her class. And follow her on Twitter and FaceBook.