An author and illustrator named Harris Burdick tells an editor that he has written fourteen stories and brings an illustration from each story with a caption, promising to deliver the full manuscript if the editor publishes his stories. Burdick, however, is never seen again. All that remains of him are the fourteen illustrations and their captions.
A collection of stories based on the illustrations written by well-known professional authors, The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, was released in 2011.
The book provides examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: Many authors have taken it to themselves to write adaptations of the illustrations. One of the more notable examples being Stephen King, who wrote a short story based on "The House on Maple Street" for Nightmares & Dreamscapes.
- No Ending: All that remains of each story is a single sentence. Done with the intention that the reader will write their own story based off it.
- Spooky Photographs: The illustrations themselves can be pretty scary, and their collective backstory is supposed to be unnerving. The stories written by each individual author go all over the place, however.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The central mystery of each illustration is what the heck kind of story would make the caption work with the art. Of course, this is the whole point for aspiring writers.