I used to belong to a Facebook group which was about sharing pictures – many if not most of the members were much better at photography than I was, some could be professionals if they’d wanted and the images they shared were just wonderful, and inspiring. However, there were all sorts of images posted, some amusing, some clever, some breathtaking in their beauty or subtlety, some of exotic and far-away places, some of mundane and everyday objects and scenes. Every weekend there was a challenge to post photos on a particular subject, and every six weeks or so there was a challenge to photograph objects with a specific theme.
One weekend’s challenge was signs, and there was a profusion of pictures interpreting this in different way. Here are some of my own photos of signs
Signs and signals are very obviously things which show the way, and as a writer I need to put in signs to my reader, hints to show them along which mental path to travel – they can follow the plot (I hope) but sometimes there are more subtle story-lines which when the outcome is revealed, must make sense and although they maybe surprising, they must fit in with what the reader knows – if they have picked up the subtle signals I’m careful to write in. I can’t parachute them into an unexpected denouement and say ‘Yes! That’s who shot the butler!’ or ‘See! He was the mysterious lover!’ if the shooter is a mysterious Peruvian who has never made an appearance in the story before, or this is the first mention of any lover, mysterious or not.
There is nothing more frustrating as a reader than coming across something which makes you exclaim ‘But that’s ludicrous! How ridiculous! No one mentioned the Scottish parrot before!’ or finding the path has petered out and a final destination is never reached on a particular narrative thread, ‘But what did happen to the old lady with the jewels sewn into her bodice?’, ‘Who was the man in the green hat?’ ‘Why did he shoot her?’