A Picnic by the River

So many things going on in life! While I keep working at my next novel, it’s a treat to take a break and work on something else. Here’s this week’s 100-word story to a picture prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for the Friday Fictioneers. Tell me what, if anything, it makes you think about:

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Maggie smiled at the children seated around the makeshift table. The dark sky matched their wet coats and mud-caked shoes.

Tina snarled, “It’s still flooded here. Why can’t we eat somewhere else?”

“Our guests are more comfortable here.” Maggie set out a platter of sandwiches. “The river is—was—their home. Please, everyone, help yourselves.”

The oldest boy picked up a sandwich, sniffed it. Then crammed it in his mouth. The other children joined in. Maggie poured hot tea, and they sipped happily, warming both hands.

 It was a beautiful day. If you were in a mood to appreciate it.


I actually wrote this also as an answer to a challenge from the Thursday Night Writers, which was to write a 100-word story where the environment contrasts with the main character’s mood. I found this surprisingly difficult, since I’ve spent a writer’s lifetime learning to use the environment to reflect the character’s mood and feelings. i.e., a sunny day reflects a sunny mood, while a view of gray clouds or a flooded riverbank reflects a character’s feelings of depression. Instead, I strove to make Maggie determinedly cheerful despite her environment. I hope I succeeded.

Join the fun! Write your own story to the prompt and post it on your website, blog, etc. Please be sure to credit the photographer — they donate the photos for our use. Then click on the froggie and add your story to the others at Friday Fictioneers. And read everyone else’s efforts — it’s astounding how many different reactions there can be to one picture!

While you’re at it, visit Rochelle’s blog post — she always adds the most interesting historical background to her story and the photo.

16 thoughts on “A Picnic by the River

  1. Very well-told story and I’d say you met the challenge from the writers group well. It a good device to remember. I also wonder about the children and what they’ve been through.


  2. Alternatively, readers, write 100 words in which any external environment contrasts with the content, and send it to Genie. We Thursday Night Writers would love to see it! (Kibitizing here, Genie! You can whack me upside the head at our next meeting if you like. Virtually, of course.)


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