Can You Write Stories for These Pictures?

Under the Lilacs book illustration.

Under the Lilacs book illustration.

I’d never heard the term domestic genre stories but I LOVE it. These are the great stories of the late 19th century that spoke to the trials and travails of ordinary life and often with beautiful illustrations. I assume they’re the works that some people deem “of no literary merit” but I disagree. Any book with illustrations like these I know I will enjoy.

If the stories are a bit sentimental who cares? Why is that any worse than the ones about monsters or post- apocalypse? Who gets to decide literary merit? If a book sells then a bunch of people find merit in it.

Image

Back to domestic genre stories. The average person is not in love with a vampire or on a desert road strewn with radioactive debris from World War Three. Why are we so interested in the weird? Are there domestic genre stories out there today? My books are about families. I’m not sure how sentimental they are but I certainly wouldn’t mind having Alice Barber Stephens illustrate them!

Alice Barber Stephens

http://www.plasticclub.org/index.shtml

Image

22 thoughts on “Can You Write Stories for These Pictures?

  1. I have seemingly acquired a whole library of Victorian books for their illustrations alone! So many beautiful pictures…I,m close to becoming a hoarder…..but have used many in my first book.

    Like

    • I know, right? I found one book with illustrations that pretty much gave me the entire outline for a section of one of my manuscripts–so much fun–like time travel. Hope you’re having a great summer so far.

      Like

  2. A story like this?
    “It’s here!” exclaimed Gerald, “I’ve found the key!”. Miss Fawcett was careful to show no outward emotion before her young charges, but her heart soared inwardly when she heard the pupil confirm the truth she had long suspected. At last her position as governess in the Henderson household would be once again secure, but only if the authorities could vouchsafe that the story she had told them after the savage attack of the night before was indeed true. Would Mr Rawlinson reveal himself? Her heart fluttered again.
    Standing close beside her, young Ernest betrayed his deep admiration for Miss Fawcett as he breathed, almost to himself, the confirmation of Gerald’s discovery. “I knew it. I knew you were right Miss. I knew it all along”, he whispered.
    “Now boys” commanded Miss Fawcett, “finding the key does not yet fully unlock the puzzle. Gerald, return it to whence you found it and replace the drawer. Our task is to provide the evidence of who secreted the key. Only then will this mystery be solved.

    Just at that moment the massive downstairs front door slammed as it was wont to do in the wind and a man’s heavy footsteps were heard on the stairs…

    Like

    • Very impressive! I love it. I love how you tell so much about Ernest’s relationship to Miss Fawcett in so few words. I do love those plucky, pretty young women and the boyhood crushes they inspire.

      Why can’t boys dress like that nowadays? Of course I love Miss Fawcett’s dress as well. I wonder how they got injured?

      Like

  3. The author writes:
    Though it’s true that plucky Lavinia Markham Fawcett was indeed injured in the hand two evenings before when she saw off the two ruffians sent by lawyer Mandeville to retrieve the incriminating document, the elder of the two brothers, young Master Earnest, was not hurt in the fray. Earnest was doubly afflicted. He suffered with a defect at birth which had rendered him a cripple all his young life and he was cursed with consumption, which would carry him on the journey from which no traveller returns a mere 18 months from the time of this adventure.

    Like

      • Sadly no. Fingers dancing like Tchaikovsky on speed across the keys while brain in mi leabadh. I’ll get the hang of this writing lark one day…

        Driving this morning I thought of what might have happened to them all — first Gerald, who as a boy soldier heard the scream of shrapnel on San Juan Hill. He volunteered again and was promoted colonel in the First War. He succumbed to the Spanish flu while waiting to return to America in 1919.
        The governess lived until 1941. Before the first war she worked in Paris and the South of France as nanny, but most of her time her job was consoling her neurotic employer, an American heiress who spent an unhappy ten years married to an impecunious and philandering mittleeuropean count of dubious pedigree. The relationship with the woman was close and not without passion, though it ended acrimoniously. Afterwards she became a paid companion to a sucession of elderly English widows in the Home Counties. She was always an indefatigable traveller and later took up photography. From this she earned enough to quit service in 1921. She spent most of her savings on travel. Lavinia was on the last passenger ship out of Singapore back to Southampton. She was planning to return to America, but was killed in an air raid in Croydon, London, in April 1941. She was 74.

        Like

  4. You raise a good point – what is this cultural fascination with the fantastic, improbable, unlikely and just downright silly?
    As far as that first picture goes… I was intrigued by the ladies’ arm in a sling – a key ingredient in the story perhaps, but why?

    Like

  5. As you have probably figured out……. I’m an addict for illustration/photo/painting prompts……. I too would love to have this person illustrate my work.
    Thanks for posting this.
    Terry

    Like

  6. The sketches are lovely and many different alternative history type stories sprung to mind as I looked at them. Perhaps it is discontent with our own world that makes us create an alternative or unusual view?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s