Some ask me occasionally how I come up with story ideas. The ideas are pretty easy, and I've written that before. For instance, I ran across a fantastic picture of tree top camping. I captured the picture, but neglected to capture the photographer, and I'm sorry for that.
Looking at the picture made me wonder if there was a story there. Perhaps a story with the Brothers von Crapp, so I thought I'd start one. Here's the current (draft) beginning, just for your reading pleasure.
"We were younger then." Vic, the Gentleman Adventurer, reached over and picked up the steaming mug of tea with the first two fingers of his left hand slipped through the mug handle and his palm firmly against the thick side of the porcelain. The heat didn't seem to bother him, though he blew across the top of the mug and didn't immediately drink it. The soothing scent of Earl Grey made him smile.
"Yes. Yes, we were. Though age doesn't seem to matter much to us, does it?" BA tossed another small biscuit in his mouth, ignoring the crumbs that littered his crumbled blue collared shirt, the short sleeves tight around his biceps.
The fire crackled merrily in the huge stone fireplace as they both gazed in silent camaraderie at the portrait above the mantle. The smell of burning oak drifted upward from the flames. A log snapped loudly, a small ember shooting in a tall arc to land on the white-veined black marble tiles in front of the fireplace. A wooden mantle clock sat beneath the picture, the hands moving slowly, a quiet tick-tick that could only be heard if the brothers concentrated. Two perfectly carved lion heads, one on each side of the clock face, watched the world impassively as time moved forward.
The room seemed large, and perhaps it was. A well-worn, highly polished wooden floor, darkened by age and years of polish stretched the eighteen feet from wall to wall. Though the fire was low, it sent warmth radiating outward to the two old leather chairs facing it, one for each of the men reclining, each lost in thought. Both had thick woolen socks on their feet. BA had one foot on the floor, tapping to a melody only he could hear, the other on a leather ottoman matching his chair. Vic had his feet firmly planted on his ottoman, crossed at the ankles.
Behind them a large window, frosted on the outside with the chill of an early winter, reflected the fire. The window was surrounded by large, grey stones, carefully fitted and mortared to survive an ice age, so the twenty degree weather outside was merely an announcement of the calendar. The inside of the house remained unaffected.
Great wooden beams stretched above their heads from one end of the room to the other. The walls were wooden panels, where the firelight softly flickered in reflection on the well-polished surfaces. Edged weapons of different kinds, from an early Roman gladius on one wall to a Spanish rapier on the opposite wall gave the room a martial demeanor, though the portrait above the fireplace, with its benign smile, lightened the atmosphere of the room.
"It was a good trip." Vic von Crapp took one of the biscuits from the small table placed between the two large leather chairs. He turned it and viewed the light brown flaky crust on the top and then tilted it to look at the slightly darker brown, almost crusty bottom of the biscuit. He smiled as he put the entire thing in his mouth, licking the few crumbs from his forefinger and thumb. His neatly pressed white shirt, open at the collar, remained untouched by the extinction of the biscuit.
"A fantastic trip. I'm not sure Mom approved." BA von Crapp grinned and picked his mug of tea up in his left hand, ignoring the handle entirely. Taking a deep gulp of the hot liquid, he sighed with content. "I do like Earl Grey."
Vic raised his right eyebrow. "Everyone likes Earl Grey."
"Jasmine didn't." BA grinned, pronouncing the "J" with the sound of a "Y," an exotic lilt somewhat foreign to his normal nature.
Vic's laughter boomed across the room for a moment. "Jasmine didn't like much of anything. She was the cause of most of the trouble, as I recall."
"Well, she liked me well enough." BA munched on another small biscuit and took a deep swallow of his tea, sighing in memory.
"Not at first she didn't." Vic said. "Certainly not when we met with her that first time…"
So the ideas aren't that hard, really. However, coming up with a useful plot and then actually crafting the story - ah, there's the rub.