Writing Prompt Story Starter: Bird In Tree

story starter

You’ll need a spyglass to spot the bird in this Story Starter image, perhaps.

See him? Near the top of the big tree on the right, in the ten o’clock position. Watching the world go by. An eye to the main chance.

That prompted me to look up where that expression — an eye to the main chance — comes from.

I’d assumed it was something seafaring, referring to a look-out in the crow’s nest watching for favourable seas or wind. But a quick search seems to indicate something to do with a card game. I wish I had my Brewer’s here . . .

Anyway, back to my bird. Anyone else getting a lovely wee blast of Leonard Cohen at this point, “Bird On A Wire”?

I think it’s just a crow, though we have buzzards around where this tree is — but I think it’s too small.

Actually, I remember now. I think it was a baby crow, because instead of that raucous cark-cark cry, it was emitting a much more timid little peep.

Never heard that from a crow before. Either a baby crow, or a crow with a sore throat.

Spinning thoughts

None of that really prompts a story, though, does it? Or perhaps it does, because who knows where any of those random observations have sent your thoughts spinning off to.

There’s something quite striking about the dead-looking branch the bird’s perched on.

Once all the leaves drop it won’t look any different from the rest of the tree, but at the moment it really stands out.

What else can we see? A lane, a bend in the road, with water running down it. A village beyond, And hills in the still-further background.

Ploughed fields. Dry grasses. Telegraph poles. Grey skies. Autumn. It could all seem a bit bleak . . .

Over to you. What do you make of it as a Story Starter this week?

For more from Shirley, read her blog here.

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Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.