The Big Story #writephoto


Another of Sue Vincent’s irresistible photo prompts from the Daily Echo. Thanks, Sue!

The Big Story

Rebecca inhaled and checked her teeth in the rearview mirror. Old Grumpy Pants was retiring from the Valley Voice, and that meant someone else’s butt would inherit his coveted chair. She needed one big story, a fabulous story, and she’d be renovating her sunny house on the beach and saying sayonara to her second job.

That story awaited her behind those looming stone walls and an iron-bound door large enough to accommodate a troll. The renowned fantasy author and recluse, Montague Ferry, hadn’t given a single interview since…ever, and she was determined to set the literary world on fire.

His books were sensations, translated into 45 languages and soaring to number one the instant they hit the e-street. She’d never liked fantasy, but she’d read one of Ferry’s novels and ended up gobbling all twelve down in one gluttonous binge. They were tastier than chocolate, and like every other person on the planet, she was addicted!

Ferry’s tales were intensely realistic. His worlds rose from the pages as if they were places he’d visited—with histories and languages, cultures and architectures, religions and politics. The characters were lovable, detestable, conflicted, and redeemable, portrayed with brilliant emotional authenticity as if he’d sat in a corner with his laptop and witnessed their actual lives unfolding. Epic trials escalated with each book, and the cast of characters expanded, unique faces flung unwittingly into the story and forced to uncover their strengths and talents, meet the challenges, or die trying.

Rebecca grabbed her recorder, exited her car, brushed her skirt, and marched up to the door. She reached for the knocker and something about it prickled the hair on her arms. Her hand stopped, suspended in mid-air, inches from touching the iron ring. The odd sensation wasn’t fright, but it wasn’t comforting either. Closer to an adrenaline rush before something momentous or life-changing. She puffed her cheeks and blew out a breath. “It’s only an interview. Relax.”

She knocked. The door opened. A diminutive Montague Ferry looked up at her through a pair of round granny glasses. His nose was shaped like a potato, and his hair looked as though he’d been recently electrocuted. “Here for the next big story?” he asked.

“Uh, yes.” She blinked. “I’m Rebecca from the Valley Voice.”

He wrinkled his brow. “You realize the commitment you’re making. This could take a while, and it doesn’t always end well.”

“I’m willing to give it a go,” she said with a smile, the encounter strange but far smoother than she’d anticipated. Ferry’s reception wasn’t jubilant, but he hadn’t slammed the old door in her face. She tried to peer around him into the home and couldn’t see a thing in the dim light. “I’ve been planning this for days, Mr. Ferry, and I promise not to waste your time.”

“You don’t look like the fantasy type.” He tapped a knobby finger on his chin.

I’ve read all your books. Emeris, the dragon tamer, is my favorite character.”

“Emeris, huh?” He sized her up. “Your timing isn’t bad, but you’ll have some competition for that one. He’s popular.”

“Pardon?” She laughed, the man so quirky. “Well, why don’t we go in and get started.”

“You’re certain?”


Montague pursed his lips, nodded, and stepped aside. Rebecca grinned and walked through the ancient door that closed behind her.

The cavern’s torchlit walls domed over her, and the air reeked of smoke. The dragon swung its head, nostrils flaring, serpentine scales rippling over long sinuous muscle. She froze as its tail slithered across the stone floor at her feet in a shimmering stream of gold. Horns spiraled from a reptilian head and spikes laced the ridged back between its taloned wings. The beast inhaled, chest swelling, jaws gaping. She screamed.

A chain whipped around the dragon’s neck, wrenching its head aside as a gout of flames meant for her spewed against the blackened wall. “This way!” Emeris shouted.

In utter panic, Rebecca spun for the ancient door and hit nothing but stone; the door vanished.

Montague Ferry sat against the wall typing furiously on his laptop. “You’ll get the hang of it,” he assured her. “This will my biggest story yet. Now, run over to Emeris before you’re broiled alive.”


95 thoughts on “The Big Story #writephoto

  1. macjam47 says:

    Whoa! The door disappeared. Oh, my! What a fascinating story!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bernadette says:

    D, thanks for posting. You already know how I feel about this story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fantastic bit! Thank you so much for sharing, Diana! Great scene. I almost expected Ferry to be a gnome or dwarf or some other suitable fantasy character. Love the dragon!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great story to fit the prompt, Diana. That man must be a wizard. No wonder his books sound so real. Magical writing as usual . Well done. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  5. joanneeddy says:

    After my standard response to your posts (lovely writing, as always, great use of the picture!) i am inclined to a humorous and then to a different serious response. The first one is: ah, if only, if only it were this easy! I am assuming you, like me, wish you were Montague Ferry just able to sit in the corner and record the magical events around me. The second is: other than that fantastical wish of merely being a recorder, you are Montague incarnate. “His [HER] worlds rose from the pages as if they were places [s]he’d visited—with histories and languages, cultures and architectures, religions and politics. The characters were lovable, detestable, conflicted, and redeemable, portrayed with brilliant emotional authenticity” fits you to a tee!

    I have to admit the foreshadowing she felt at the door led me to expect the twist or at least something like a dragon behind it…especially the choice of favorite character bit. (Why do characters in fantasy and horror so often mistrust their gut reactions?) I definitely think Rebecca deserves an even bigger story…hopefully more to come! Jo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dgkaye says:

    Fantastic short Diana. It seems to have the making for a new book? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. olganm says:

    Fabulous, Diane!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bernadette says:

    Beware of what you wish for, you might receive it. YIKES!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. joannesisco says:

    I love these short stories. I’m always left wondering – what’s next?!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. reocochran says:

    The reporter made me nervous, for some reason I was worried about her safety, Diana. I liked the author being short and cheerful. That dragon became real and authentic once you described horns, spikes and serpentine scales. . . I felt it’s closeness of the fiery breath. Close call, and strange the door disappeared?! So cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading, Robin. Yes, she was a little over her head, and she and Montegue weren’t talking about about things. I think she’ll do okay as a fantasy character once she gets over the shock! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • reocochran says:

        She will do as fine as the author allows her mind to be used, ha ha! Diana, your affinity with fantasy is very clear when you write. Do you like the show, “Game of Thrones?” I have never watched it buy this recent new man, (third date), wishes i wouldborrow his dvd’s when I go up to Mom’s for my summer week of vacation over the 4th. . .

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Nurse Kelly says:

    What superlatives can I use this evening?! Unparalleled writing and entertainment… that will do! Incredible, Diana.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Steven Baird says:

    This is terrific, Diana! Umm… you’re not Montague Ferry, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sean P Carlin says:

    I’m curious, Diana: When you write something like this, how long does it take you? Do you do a few drafts of it, or just revise on the fly given how short the piece is?

    And nice work, too! It’s a perfect little story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am a slow writer, Sean. Once I had the idea…it took me about two hours to write the first draft. Then about 5 hours of revisions and tweaking spaced out over two days so it could sit and stew in between. I’m curious whether that seems like a lot or a little to you. Either way, I’m glad you liked it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sean P Carlin says:

        I’m not a fast writer or a fast reader. Producing words on a page is like childbirth for me, be it a manuscript, screenplay, blog post, or even a comment on someone else’s blog! And I’m a proponent of stepping away from the material for as long as you can; perspective does wonders. That’s part of the reason I seldom reread my old work: I know I would just find a hundred things to revise! Much as I wish I were more prolific, I measure my own creative success in the quality of the words over the quantity.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Reading your old work is dangerous. I’m in the process of doing that now as I move my trad books to indie. There was no way, I couldn’t go back in and make changes, and knowing when to stop is tough – when are you no longer improving and simply rewriting. I may write a post on it when I’m finally done with this. 🙂


          • Sean P Carlin says:

            Revising your work post-publication is a very tricky thing. On the one hand, you have someone like J. R. R. Tolkien, who never considered the text of Lord of the Rings sacrosanct and made alterations to it throughout his life; on the other hand (and I realize I’m mixing media forms here), you don’t want to do what George Lucas did with the classic Star Wars trilogy: “improve” it into the ground. The work does and should reflect who you were when you wrote it, so editorial amendments, such as they are, should be implemented with extreme prejudice. I know David Morrell just released a new edition of his 1985 novelization Rambo: First Blood Part II and made some minor adjustments to the text; it would be interesting to get his perspective on revisiting a work thirty years later and how he approached revising it.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I agree, Sean. It’s a challenge especially in the beginning of a career when we are still learning the craft and honing our abilities. Earlier works often benefit from fresh eyes with a bent toward lessons learned. You’re right that there is a risk too. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  14. Sue Ranscht says:

    This is brilliant! I am now a devoted fan, bowing down at your feet. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Your writing always grabs me and won’t let go. And the picture of the door is fabulous, I wish we would still take our time to create something so grandiose. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Kudos, Diana! Your prose here was superb. I started out wanting to tell you my favorite bits, but I’d be quoting from every paragraph.
    The door is lovely too. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. C.E.Robinson says:

    Diana, what a wonderful story! Magical mystery behind the door. A perfect setting. And you knew how to put a story together perfectly! Have a super week! 💛 Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Meg Sorick says:

    Absolutely fabulous! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  19. ghostmmnc says:

    !!! ❤ ❤ not enough words to say how much I enjoyed your story!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Al Lane says:

    Absolutely love this… I always think there’s an element of truth in this for all writers anyway! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Love that door! It absolutely inspires a story. Like paths and bridges. And–wonderful story, Diana.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. As the saying goes, “be care what you wish for” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Wow this was not what I was expecting! Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Sue Vincent says:

    Reblogged this on Sue Vincent – Daily Echo and commented:
    A great take on this week’s photo prompt from author D. Wallace Peach

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Sue Vincent says:

    Great story, Diana 🙂 Thank you for taking part!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. cepcarol says:

    Wow. I love your imagination. Superb.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. balroop2013 says:

    I admire your skill of fantasying Diana! How well do you weave your words is a marvel to me! Another thought that hit me just now is what will I write about this door and I could once again think on the same lines…emotions trapped behind this door! No wonder I have named my blog ‘Emotional Shadows!’
    Loved this story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You might try the prompt, Balroop. Sue’s photos are great at stimulating the imagination, and many people respond with poems as well 🙂 Thanks, as always, for reading and Happy Writing!


  28. Wow, Diana. From a true fantasy-writer. Excellent. ☺

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Annika Perry says:

    Diana, this is terrific!! 😀 Gripping throughout, intense and such a unexpected twist at the end. Yeah!! Loved it and reading this has made my day! I won’t forget Montague Ferry in a hurry.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Oh my!! This is wonderful! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Irena S. says:

    Oh, this is great! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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