Jaysen's 150 word story?

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Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:10 pm Post

If you're familiar with Novel-in-a-Day and Three-Word-Story, you may be aware that Jaysen has been trying to persuade me to let him produce a crowd-sourced chapter within that collaborative novel for a little while. He brought the suggestion up again in the Feature Request thread, and I challenged him to prove that it's a good idea; you can work on a chapter together in a style that will not jar the resulting experience for readers of the finished books.

Anyway, to give him fair opportunity to prove that it works, here is a sample chapter for a "150 word story". Like the "Three-word-story" format, you take it in turns to write sections that follow on from the previous section. Unlike three word story, you're not forced to write just three words. You can write between 100 and 150 words. (NO MORE AND NO LESS PLEASE!). You must follow from the previous sections, and you must work towards the overall chapter outline (shown below).

If you get to the "Ends With" in a sensible time, and you're having fun, I'll put up an outline for the next chapter... and then the next... and then the next.

Have fun!

General background
JOHN THOMAS TAYLOR is a 32 year old man, in a failing marriage. He's a slightly overweight and relatively average if unspectacular guy who works as office manager for a cape tour company (that he doesn't own). John has a small scar on his left temple from a being knocked off his bike by a car when he was 7.
His wife of 10 years, LUCY FIONA TAYLOR (nee WILLIAMS, age 32) works part time for the local news station as a researcher. Lucy is having an affair with a work colleauge, but John doesn't know that.
John and Lucy have a single child, an 8 year old daughter called ALICE ELIZABETH TAYLOR. They all live together in a 3 bedroom, 2 storey house in downtown Wilmingon, about 5 blocks from the waterfront.

Things that have happened previously
KELLY MARIE MARTIN came over to the Taylor's house for lunch who John has known since he was young, and who was at Lucy's class at the University of North Carolina where John also studied (Nicola introduced Lucy to John). John made something for Lucy and Kelly to eat before he took Alice out to soccer. Lucy and Kelly were gossiping as he left.

Starts with
It is SATURDAY MID AFTERNOON. Alice has just finished a soccer practice and John is going to drive her home.

Chapter details
John drives Alice home
When he gets back to the house, Lucy and Kelly are still there, but the atmosphere is a bit awkward - Kelly is treating John a bit oddly.
Something happens that cause Lucy and John to have an argument in front of Kelly and Alice.
Lucy snaps telling John about the affair.
John storms out and gets in his car.

Ends with
Pulling out of his drive, John's car is in the side by a school bus. [End at the point of impact]

gr wrote:For the conduct of the experimental spirit, I am imagining the following procedure: The chapter gets composed serially right here in this thread, but to avoid duplication of efforts, at each joint, someone must "dibs" the next segment and then come back within x amount of time to post his or her block of text. Each post should include a running total of the word count of the whole chapter, b/c things have to wind up sometime. I suppose that, but for the occasional flying saucer, common purpose and general good will will hold the reigns on the flippant and genre-busting impulses to which we are all prone.*


* Though I have to say I was almost sure the spat between Lucy and John had something to do with the mechanical dolphin that just went in down at the pub.

OK -- we'll work like that in this thread. I suggest we have 45 minutes reservations on writing the next bit, but flag in your section if you'll need a slightly different amount of time. NOTE: at Jaysen's suggestion, there should be at least four other people between any individual's contribtutions.

I'll kick things off, since it's probably easier to follow than start. If we've not got a sensible number of replies by the end of this week, I'll call off and close the thread.
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"Some dice only have sixes." nom, 19 Oct 2013
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Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:03 pm Post

‘Did you see me, Dad?’
John squatted down as Alice bounded over towards him. He gave her a quick hug and stood up again. ‘I did, love. Ready to go?’
‘Yes, Dad.’
‘You don’t need do any team stuff? Talk about the match?’ he asked, already walking towards the car.
‘No, we do all that at school.’
Alice beamed a full-beam smile and grabbed John’s hand as they walked. ‘I scored a goal!’
‘No, you didn’t, hon.’
‘I did, Dad.’
They didn’t break stride.
‘Alice, you had a great game, but you didn’t score a goal.’
Alice let go of her dad’s hand. ‘Did!’
‘Honey, I watched the game.’
‘It was before you arrived.’ Her arms folded tightly in a familiar pre-tantrum gesture.
John sighed. ‘I saw the whole game, sweetie. I didn’t arrive late. I even drove you here.’
‘Story-tellers don’t get ice-cream.’

150 words
150 total
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"Some dice only have sixes." nom, 19 Oct 2013
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Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:09 pm Post

John opened the door for Alice.
"Climb in and let's get headed home."
"I want chocolate with sprinkles.”
Sighing to himself John started the car. “What is is with me and women? Lucy seems to be … gone, and now Alice is starting to lie to me. Is it me? Is it something I’m doing?”
“Alice, you know that telling the truth is important. I saw the game. When did you score a goal?”
The ice cream shop was just ahead. John really wanted to stop and have a treat with Alice. That would give Lucy and Kelly, John and Lucy’s college friend, time to chat.
“I did score a goal. i really did. I swear.”
“When did you score the goal?”
“Before you got there. When the other team was still getting to the field.”
John chuckled. “Well, that was before I got there. Chocolate with sprinkles it is.”

149 words
299 total

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09


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Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:44 pm Post

As he closed the front door, John called out, “Honeys. We’re home”, including their guest, Kelly, in the greeting. John found the unexpected silence, eerily foreboding. Hiding his unease from Alice, he smiled at her and said, “They’ve probably slipped out for a bit of female retail therapy.” Alice replied with a quizzical look. John tutted and explained, “They’ve gone shopping for clothes.”

Too young and of the wrong sex to appreciate her Dad’s sexist banter, Alice handed him her holdall of footballing tackle to sort out, as she turned and ran into the kitchen.

It wasn’t the shock of hearing Lucy and Kelly greeting Alice as she entered the kitchen, but the lack of bonhomie contained within their greetings, that stirred the butterflies in John’s stomach. “What the f?”
John dropped the holdall by the kitchen door, and leant against the doorframe. “Hi”. Their replies were two icy stares.

150 words
449 total
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

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Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:54 pm Post

"You never told me about Kelly."
"Luce... what do you mean?
"Alice, to your room."
"But mom— "
"Upstairs. Now."
A deep silence as eight-year-old shoes shuffle to top of the stairs.
"Okay. I'll bite. What the fuck did I not tell you about Kelly?"
"That the two of you slept together through most of your junior and senior years."
"We what?"
"Don't play innocent. You're lousy at it."
"Kelly, what is going on here. Did you tell Lucy...?"
"I told her we... that we were together. And we were."
"Enough. You two old flames can sit here and smoulder together."
Another pair of shoes, older ones, stomp to the top of the stairs.
"Kelly, what the hell is this? You and I never— "
"Jesus Christ, man, I tried to give you some street cred."
"A back story to make you look good in a bad light, dummy."

150 words
599 total
You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.