I don’t think I’ve ever gotten an entire story from a single image, as you describe here, but I’ve gotten characters from it. For instance:
-A man with arrows of light and a bow of gold. The image is seen from the side, with only one shut eye visible, and yet I know that both are shut. He is in a forest, and only the shadows greet him. This is Silent Mask, my Night Caste exalted (Later I found out that the image in my head was pretty much taken from Keychain of Creation… except the previous archer was a deathknight. And a girl)
-A pegasus pony, singing and dancing with a microphone in one hoof. His left wing is metal, and lightning strikes the ground around him. The world seems to swirl, and colors are in high contrast (either very dark or very bright). This is Lone Star, a pegasus juggernaut who can sing to warp reality around him.
-A city on a cliff, of white stone. At the bottom of the cliff lay an azure sea, and from a high tower shines a golden light. In the distance, I see a forest, and I feel… at peace. This is Lampide, city of Onore the sun goddess.
Things like that.
In a recent interview for his new book Joyland, Stephen King mentioned that one way he starts a story is that he starts with an image. In the case of Joyland, the image was of a boy on a beach with the sun setting. It took a couple of years apparently, but that image expanded to include a theme park and that’s how His Scary Highness came up with what would become a summer bestseller.
These past 24 hours I had a similar experience that allowed me to come up with an idea for a story. It started last night as I was going to bed. I was hypnotizing myself to sleep (yes, I know how to do that) and one of the commands I gave myself to help facilitate sleep was to let random images form in my head, “as if from a dream”. And among the images that…
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