Thursday, April 23, 2009

Story Chain

I've read in magazines how groups of writers get together and one of them writes one chapter, and then a different writer writes another. I never understood why, but after hearing from a friend how it opened up new avenues of possibility with his novel, I started thinking differently.

So, if you have the time, I thought we could start a kind of sentence/story chain. It'd be interesting just to see the choices other writers/readers make and if or how the story ends. No rules, really. Well, I guess at least one sentence that does something for the story, either moves it forward or gives it dimension, would be good. 'He coughed' is, um...yeah.

I guess I'll start.

Jamie walked out the front door of his house, waving goodbye to his mother. He had a sack of clothes over his shoulder and a black suitcase in his right hand. As he walked up the sidewalk, he wondered...what now?

Indeed...what now?

Do with Jamie what you wish.


  1. He was on his own, life spread out before him, tomorrow another day, and so many other tired cliches that seemed to race through his mind with each step that he took. The one thing he knew for sure was that there was no looking back. The past had to remain the past. He could no longer be the victim that had defined his young adulthood.

  2. Flied swarmed around roadkill right in front of the bus station. It was muggy, and Jamie felt a trickle of sweat trail down his neck from the heat. Or was it from apprehension?

  3. He removed the bus ticket from his wallet, easing it out from behind a modest amount of cash. There was nothing else in is wallet besides the ID. Everything else he was...everything else he was going to be, lay neatly packed in the black suitcase.
    "After today," he whispered to himself, "Jamie does not exist anymore."

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  5. He boarded the bus, knowing his heart should be thudding, but it wasn't. Anywhere was better than here. When he saw the young woman sitting at the back, he almost tripped over his feet in the middle of the aisle. Wow, short skirt. Long, think dancer's legs. And she was smiling at him like no girl had smiled at him before.

  6. Abruptly, Jamie jerked back to his senses. Sure she was unusually beautiful. Sure she was smiling at him like he was the only guy left on the planet. But maybe that was the point. Hadn't Dodger said that They had people out there like that? People looking for hopefuls like Jamie? Dodger could have been exaggerating, but he'd started all this and Jamie didn't see any reason to blow off his warning.

  7. His gaze met the young woman's for an instant and there was the briefest hint of a smile, but then it was gone. She turned away.

    There was a seat next to her and he moved in her direction, but could he? Should he? He stopped. He didn't dare.

  8. Jamie unlocked his suitcase and pulled out a folded-up letter. The ink from the black cursive lettering bled through the page:

    Dear Jamie:

    Trust no one on your trip to see me. The bus trip will be long, and there will no doubt be people on that bus who know you, yet you don't know them. Stick to the plan and you'll be fine. After you get off the bus, go to this address:

    540 W. Commons Lane
    Tillamook, OR

    Three men will be waiting to take you to the plane.

  9. Even as I read the letter, I heard the door shut. But, thinking of the Oregon coast--the waves and the raging winds of Fall, I did nothing to adjust to the fact that the bus was going to leave.

    The driver gunned it up the hill and I lost my balance. I fell forward and the letter flew into the air. My brief case fell to the ground and the wind from the open windows carried the letter away from me. The secret letter flew from me to her--the girl with the skirt and the hot legs.

  10. From the vantage point of my knees I had a spectacular view of just how long and sleek those legs were. I gathered myself together and sat across the aisle from her, one seat back. Close enough to see her, but too far to chat.

    Dodger was right. I knew when I left home this would be a solitary journey.

    "You dropped this." She was holding out the letter to me. Had she read it?

  11. I took the letter from her trying to keep eye contact. Now that I got a good look at her, she seemed familar, but I know we've never met.

    "I'm supposed to give you this." She handed me a small box.

    I knew I shouldn't have opened it right away but curiousity got the best of me. I looked down and couldn't believe what I was holding in my hands.

  12. It glimmered with promise, this bauble nestled in velvet. My chest tightened with unreleased air, and I couldn't drag my eyes away from the fragile iridescence. The sweet hum filled my head, and I swam in blues and greens and magenta skies.

    Leaping at the chance to escape my life, I had clung to Dodger's invitation, never imagining for a moment that his warnings were more than paranoid rumblings. And yet, here in my hands, I held the very artifact I had joined his group to find.

  13. When I looked back down into the box, I noticed parchment hidden under the velvet. And on that parchment, the corner that I could see, I recognized a word written in Japanese.

    I wondered if I could read the rest.

    Hot legs said, "Take it! What are you waiting for?"


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