“A picture is worth a thousand words.” I don’t know where the following image is from, but I think most of us will agree that it’s a strong one, and has a story to tell. Though I’m not a fan of war stories nor do I aspire to write any, the look on this man’s face says so much. From the loss of a fellow soldier/friend, to him carrying out a bad command.
If you don’t write or don’t like war-related stories, forget about the setting of the image, and focus on the face and how he holds his head. What does it tell you? Did he make a bad choice? What were the stakes? Think outside the usual life or death dilemma (and dehumanisation) many war stories have at their core (though one can’t argue it’s strong). Forget about the soot on his face. Think of him in an Armani suit and a silk tie, but with the exact same expression of desperation on his face. Perhaps he’s a businessman and he had to acquire and liquidate a business, because that’s what the CEO he worked for had asked him to do.