Strange Scenarios Requested


Hello there, fellow Ekphrasians and blog readers! I’m working on plotting out my second novel, and I would like suggestions of scenarios that I could maybe adapt and include. Here are the parameters:


– the setting is a cemetery
– the characters are members of an artists’-and-writers’ critique group
– each character is very distinctive: they wear strange clothing, sport a variety of accents, and have a wild collection of eccentric habits
– they spend the day wandering around the cemetery working on their art or looking for inspiration.
– they have various encounters throughout the day: romantic, social, friendly, unfriendly
– they read, write, take photographs, sketch, draw, paint, pose, dance, play music, etc.
– each has something intense going on spiritually or psychologically. These become more pronounced and dramatic as the day goes on so that when the big crisis comes, these problems and experiences explode.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSOOOOO… I’m looking for suggestions of interactions these characters might have during such a day. What would you do, if you were wandering around a graveyard with other eccentric, artistic people? What arguments, illusions, passions, delusions, or inspirations might occur? Thanks for your ideas! 


About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is a writer, English teacher, and Inklings scholar. Sørina serves as Chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Signum University and teaches English at King's College and Lehigh Carbon Community College. She has published two books of poetry, "The Significance of Swans" and "Caduceus."

8 thoughts on “Strange Scenarios Requested

  1. I dance between the gravestones. The music plays continuously in my head. My partners are imaginings of those long buried beneath the earth. Those in my mind are the ones who seem real, alive, solid. I know they are not real, but my senses try to deceive me. When I meet another living human they seem ghostly dreams that melt into mist when I approach. They are more solid when they speak. Others pass me by. They ask why I never do anything. Why I sit perfectly still on a specific gravestone for hours. I don’t understand them. I am constantly in motions, constantly dancing to the music.

  2. mrwootton says:

    This is an obvious one, but there should definitely be a character whose primary interaction is with a ghost or ghosts. S/he should in fact be more in tune with the ghost(s) in his/her head than to actual living persons, mentally “ghostly” to others who try to interact with him/her.

    Ideally, the actuality of the ghost would be ambiguous – possibly a psychological self-projection, possibly an actual spirit apparition – and the ambiguity should remain unresolved.

    The ghost should not be the product of the character’s residual guilt – that’s too overdone.

    The ghost should render the character untrustworthy as a narrator, but in a non-obvious manner. Which direction the narrative distorts should be different depending on which possible nature the ghost really has. (e.g., is the ghost’s memory supplying real detail, or is the character’s imagination fabricating detail?)

    Ideas for mood reading – Eliot’s “Cocktail Party”, Williams’ “Descent Into Hell”, probably anything D.H. Lawrence for corrupted inward thought life. Virginia Woolf strikes me as probably relevant as well.

    • Yes, indeed. Another friend just told me a ghost story, too, and before I read your comment I was starting to figure out how to do just what you’ve said here. How many people see the ghost? Everyone? Only one? Only some of the group? Does it do anything that could be verified, such as breaking or moving something? Or does it only have a spiritual/psychological effect? I’ll have to work all that out. Thanks!

  3. mootpoint says:

    Writer wears white linen poet’s smock and 1700’s style knee-length overcoat with shoulder pads, leather boots and has a great, big bushy beard that is tugged at as a nervous tic, part of his battle with Tourette Syndrome. Makes profoundly brilliant statements mixed with coprolalia. Carries a Sharpie, writes poetry graffiti in cemetery.
    Photographer Exchange student with broken English, he finishes sentences with the help of a German/English dictionary, regularly gets interrupted by another character and then finishes the sentence as a fragment somewhere in and amongst someone else’s conversation. Relies more on Polaroids to communicate, many spoonerisms because of his slow growing English skills. Obsessed with going to Dunkin Donuts. May be offensive to elderly family burying their World War II veteran family member, either because the family is bigoted or because the German says something, means well, but comes out offensive. Praises Nietzsche but cemetery makes him contemplate. Confused by the word mausoleum because it is the word for “mouse” and the word for “fuming sulfuric acid” in one word. Continues taking photos, including those looking up from six feet down in an open grave, which he climbs down into, and then has trouble getting out of.
    Aussie female musician interested in trying to borrow the acoustics lent by the cemetery, including the inside of a mausoleum, which she is able to access with the help of another artist who is a very talented painter but also a forger and looter as a hobby. She remains unafraid of death, while the painter is terrified. Painter is madly in love with musician, but musician flirts with male florist making a delivery at graveside. Painter moves from canvas to painting the angel statues at one point.
    Aussie musician sings song praising God during funeral procession, most misunderstand her. Shakespearean-trained actor may attempt to re-enact or expound upon the ending of Romeo and Juliet while in mausoleum. Actor is constantly eating something, usually a very noisy snack which can be the only thing heard when everyone else is quiet in the cemetery. Only stops to give incredibly moving monologues from death scenes of plays. Weather changes in the cemetery abound. Dancer with laryngitis expresses themselves only by dance and by the lip reading done by the writer with Tourette Syndrome mentioned earlier. Translation of lip reading, therefore, not always accurate. Dancer is frustrated because she is usually very talkative, but is not able to express how she feels about being in the cemetery because of temporary muteness. Reeks of cough drops. Very energetic. Occasionally see radioactive zombie cat, er, I mean, just a regular cat or other animal that makes several appearances throughout the day in the cemetery. Cat may or may not be real, may or may not be symbolic. Not all of group may leave cemetery alive.
    Member may join group while in the cemetery and may be a ghost.

    The angel statues start following the group–okay, so that’s Moffat’s idea.

  4. Rosie Perera says:

    In 2012, I met a guy at the Glen Workshop, Walter Skold, founder of the Dead Poets Society of America, who goes around to cemeteries where famous poets are buried; he brings props with him (objects having something to do with the dead poets, such as a copy of their book), sets up the props around their gravestones and photographs them.
    You can see a collection of his tombstone art here:

  5. mrwootton says:

    What about a lovers’ quarrel. Say two of the attendees have just broken up the night before – broken an engagement, perhaps – but have both come, arriving separately. Unable to focus on their art, they wander the cemetery avoiding each other and recruiting allies for support in the conflict.

  6. These are all great! I will consider all of them!

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