The image for this week’s challenge is by illustrator Virginia Frances Sterret and comes from a book of French fairy tales. I don’t know which one, and I haven’t tried to find out so as not to get cultural interference in the prompt. Whatever the story, it looks to be a strange one. But then, aren’t all fairy tales on the odd side? What is the leafless red tree with the different kinds of fruit, and who is the girl peering at it? Where are they—garden, castle tower, observatory? And is the girl just peering in idle curiosity or yelling invective? The outspread hand implies some kind of excitement.
I’ll leave you to decide. Please post the link to your story in the comments section before next Thursday. Enjoy yourselves!
76 thoughts on “Microfiction challenge #25: The red tree”
What is the preferred wordcount on these, Jane?
Just keep it micro, under 500 words. It’s a good exercise to try for 200 but no obligation 🙂
I wound up at 283. Thank you. ☺
You got a lot of story into 283 words 🙂
Well I am thrilled you think so. Succinctness is definitely an area of opportunity for me, and this was written spontaneously.
It’s good practice, to tell the story with no surplus words. I thought you did it well.
It’s very interesting! Thanks.
Hope you get a story out of it 🙂
An idea is growing 🙂
A red tree idea?
Yes. I need it winter/ Christmas themed though as that’s the stories currently going up on my blog. And due to me being ahead of things, it won’t be up till Thursday now. But I’m still going to do it. I’ll post up the link too.
Good for you!
Hi Jane have a lovely weekend:
Thanks! You too, Michael.
Oh Jane this excites me another challenge an opportunity to try a new genre… I hope I am up to the task. 😯😕
Course you are. And there’s no genre imposed. You can write a horror story if you like 🙂
Mmm we will have to see what appears from my pen. 😇
Make it nasty.
Haa ha ha! Okay let’s see… *scratches chin* 😈😤😱😲
Hi Jane. Here’s my contribution to this week’s challenge:
There’s definitely magic in the air. (K)
But what is it all about?
It will (hopefully) be revealed…
Sorry a bit longer than I hoped. Out of micro-practice I guess. Happy to be back. Lovely prompt photo Jane. 🙂
Glad to have you back, Kat 🙂
Needs some judicious pruning to be sure! Engaging image — not sure I engaged it well.
Ooh, lovely illustration. I do love book illustrations like this, like some of Arthur Rackham’s picture – beautiful but odd too. A great combination.
I’ll get back to you 🙂
Logically, story illustrations should provide a lot of inspiration. I hope this one does it for you 🙂
I have a few illustrations on my walls – odd things I found in a charity shop and had framed, marked and spotted with age. A couple are from an old edition of Peter Pan and one of the lost boys dressed as wolves, heads between their knees – sometimes I stare at them, wonder what they’re up to, at the oddness of the scene.
My dad was a great one for scouring junk shops for old children’s books and when I was a kid we had big fat illustrated story books from the 1930s with coloured plates. One of them was called Pipkin the Elf and it had the most glorious illustrations of fairies, flying mice, owls, etc and a banquet that I could look at for hours!
Sounds magical! My mum had several books I pawed over for hours and hours – one was the Tutankhamun exhibition catalogue from the early 70s. The other was a book about bog bodies with some very detailed photographs. Totally her fault I am the way I am 🙂
I had that catalogue too! And was also fascinated by bog bodies, and the casts made at Pompei. It’s a shame that now when there is instant access to all these esoteric subjects, most of the kids I know never bother to use the internet for that purpose. Too glued to what fatuous celebs and their fatuous peers are up to.
Lovely book, that catalogue. My mum still has it and apparently I was taken along to the exhibition in my pushchair, though I only have one memory of it and that might be an implant from later conversations.
Lack of boredom is a problem – I remember spending hours on long coach journeys across country just staring out of the window making up stories. No kids do that now. My son wants to be a computer programmer – at least he’ll never be out of work 🙂
My children are floating in a happy place where they work as little as possible, study as little as possible, spend a half a day drawing or painting or taking photographs or whatever, just for the fun of it, and when we reproach them for not having any ambition, they say we taught them that happiness isn’t found in material success. Our fault, once again…
Haha! That sounds familiar … My son has no ambition to do anything much which I’m sure must be my fault (being a hopeless drifter myself!) but all of his friends are the same, though they are all onyl 12 and 13. Smart kids – no drive. I think maybe it’s a symptom of the ‘snowflake generation.’ 🙂
Dilettantes the lot of them 🙂
The Land of the Lotus Eaters – just when we’re about to need survivalists. Oh, lor. 🙂
I’ve never believed the hopefuls who praise the youff of today.
Though parents have been bemoaning the state of ‘today’s youth’ since the days of Pliny and we’re still here 🙂
That’s about the only ray of hope we have. Let’s make the most of it 🙂
Everything will be fine – just keep telling yourself that 🙂
Hi! I gave it a go – and pared and sliced it down – great image – so many possibilities. thank you 🙂
and here’s my link: https://blackcatalleyblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/the-red-tree-of-life/
I’m glad you did 🙂
This is not a fairy tale. https://ellenbest24.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/how-many-pieces-of-forbidden-fruits/
Can the story be rendered poetically? Thanks, Kevin
Why not? Until recently I also ran a poetry challenge and would have said this challenge is really for prose, but since I don’t do the poetry challenge any more, let’s see your story in poetry 🙂
Thanks. I will compose a piece. Kevin
I look forward to reading it 🙂
Hi! I wrote a story for your challenge. I really hope you’ll like it. 🙂 https://booksandhottea.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/microfiction-challenge-the-red-tree/
I really like this picture! Thanks Jane!
I’m glad it inspired you Carol 🙂
I dawdled this week, the muse teasing me with other avenues. Still, my contribution…http://engleson.ca/?page_id=8227
I only just got in in time too 🙂
I apologize for the length. It just needed to be told this way. 🙂 https://merrildsmith.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/the-red-tree-microfiction/
I went way over the limit too. I think that’s the effecct of fairy tales. They refuse to be condensed 🙂
Yes, you need to set them up and then resolve them.
Found your prompt at Wordwitch… Just a simple fantasy to add:
Sorry meant to add the short link…