Coldly Calculating: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Coldly Calculating: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
May 4, 2016 No Comments » Coldly Calculating, Writing Prompts A.L. Mabry

Welcome to Coldly Calculating: Writing by the Numbers.

I will be your host each week as we probe the darker corners of your imagination. This series is meant to help feed your mystery/horror muse, so try to give us chills! The prompt is open to interpretation, but try to include the phrase somewhere in your piece.


This Week’s Prompt

a picture is worth a thousand words

There’s dependencies on where and when this idiom originated. And many other things were attributed to the “worth a thousand words” idea such as:

“One timely deed is worth ten thousand words” – The Works of Mr. James Thomson, 1802.

“That tear, good girl, is worth, ten thousand words” – The Trust: A Comedy, in Five Acts, 1808.

“One fact well understood by observation, and well guided development, is worth a thousand times more than a thousand words” – The American Journal of Education, 1858.

The concept of a picture being worth a thousand words was possibly introduced in Ivan S. Turgenev’s novel Fathers and Sons, 1862 with a character stating:

“The drawing shows me at one glance what might be spread over ten pages in a book.”

Regardless of the origins, this idiom offers a lot of story fodder. This week I want you to search Google Images using the words “candid photo” and then choose one image. Write a short story that reveals a more sinister story in a seemingly innocuous picture. I like it dark, don’t be afraid to push the envelope.

a picture is worth a thousand words

jarmoluk / Pixabay

The rules are simple:

  1. Read the prompt and the history behind the phrase.
  2. Write a story 700 words or less answering the challenge.
  3. Share the url to your story in the comments OR, if you don’t have your own blog, share your story in the comments. Either way, it will be seen.
  4. Please keep your stories pg-13 or under since this is a public page. Add trigger warnings where necessary. Keep vulgarity to a minimum.
  5. Have FUN!

Until next time, scribe happy and stay sassy!


A.L. Mabry A.L. Mabry is an Executive Editor for Our Write Side. As an author, she enjoys writing in all genres and forms, even grocery lists. She is an artist and Wiccan who has an obsessive love of vampires, kilts, and blue butterflies. She is passionate about many topics and her posts are often laced with the snarky sense of humor one acquires from raising five teenagers, all at once. In her downtime, she can be found with her loving husband, Shawn and their children. She maintains her shreds of sanity with yoga, tea, and cats.

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