I chose to write within the guidelines of the contest, but also, deliberately and as an exercise for myself, to write so the theme and details would reflect the photo and the "Lonely Moon" concept as closely as possible. This limitation is not part of the contest rules; it was my own idea to test myself and see what I could do.
The moon, loneliness, and the image in the photo are all integral parts of my story. The moon appears twice, once in the opening "vision", and once in the closing scene. Selene's loneliness is one of the central themes, and I used imagery from the photo twice, once in her "vision", and once as her mind cleared. Even her name is symbolic of the Moon.
I may or may not have written a better story without my self-imposed limitation. That isn't the point. I set myself a goal, and I achieved that goal. Whenever we as writers achieve the goals we set ourselves, we win. To develop our individual writing skills, we each need to set our own goals, then struggle until we reach those goals. When we do so, we improve our writing abilities, and that's the best prize of all!
Now that I've made my point, I should add that I actually have two reasons for celebration today. I wrote a story that fulfilled my goals for it. And my two kittens, Tristan Brighteyes - Hero and Stargazer LittleGirl, are one year old today.
This is their official birthday, the rain held off long enough to let them take a nice, long walk outside on their leashes, and they enjoyed themselves very much leaping up tree trunks and chasing and catching bugs! After Stargazer's adventure last month, I am just overjoyed to see those small, wondering, happy faces sniffing everything within reach.