More Surprises

A while back we worked on surprising each other with where we took a story. I’d like to try that again. One of the things I like the most when reading (and find the least) is when the writer surprises me. Most genre novels are fairly predictable. In fact, I’m guessing most of you, like me, often play the game when watching movies of guessing how the story will end. Someone wrote it, so of course, I always wonder if I could have found a better plot and ending.

So let’s get some practice surprising each other. I’m going to write an opening paragraph to a story. Your challenge is to write the next paragraph (and the next, and so on) but to take the early suggestion of plot in a direction we least expect. Dive in!

Young Zygote Fandango hid behind the last book shelf on the top floor of the university library, waiting for the final closing bell to stop ringing and the lights to go out. The one expected security guard came and went. Now Zygote could get to work.

14 responses to “More Surprises

  1. As young Zygote scanned the shelves for the right book. He got side tracked when he saw a first edition . He just had to stop and cruise through it. Just to have a first edition of this book in his hands made him shiver. He would never have thought the quest he was on would lead to this kind of an adverture.
    He had to get his mind back on track or the job would not get done. He would come across a lot of first editions. Since this was the rare book section.

  2. With a sigh of reluctance, Ziggy put the rare tome back in its place, took off his backpack, and stripped off all his clothes.

    From the pack he pulled the full-body Fastskin suit that promised to reduce drag in water by 16 per cent. He didn’t know how it would work where he was going, but he needed every bit of aerodynamic help he could find. The compression suit also guaranteed an 11 per cent increase in available oxygen for his muscles, and that too was a godsend. Next came the silicone form-fitting cap, the special goggles, and a climbing harness.

    He stuffed his clothes and shoes into the backpack, and hid it in behind a Gutenburg Bible. For a fleeting moment, he wondered why this valuable fifteenth century book wasn’t behind lock and key, then his excitement took over and he picked up his equipment.

    He knew he resembled a short Michael Phelps. Maybe that would help if he got caught.

  3. He stopped and said a prayer on the Bible then went on his way. The time was short, the tide was due to turn, he needed the tide to help him.
    As he slid down the stairs on the railing he felt like a kid again. Getting control of his feelings he returned to the task at hand.
    Comming to the basement of the library ,he looked for the exit route he knew was there. Haveing the map of the entire building helped him in his quest. Now all he needed was the strength to move the grate that was at the entrence of the tunnel. With a sigh of releif he found the tunnel. Now to move the cover and get in. He worried what he would find in the tunnel, he had heard many frightful stories of what was there. He would not loose his nerve now , he had come to far. revenge was only a short swim away.
    As he pulled the crow bar out of his bag of goodies , he was sure he coudl move the cover.

    Haveing gotten the cover off, a wave of rank smell hit him. He nearly turned around but his quest was to important to him. He had to get even. So on he went into the slimy tunnel. Trying not to fear what lie ahead.

  4. Ziggy stepped on something just a few feet into the tunnel, he focused his flashlight on his shoe, Lime Jello. Who the heck put lime jello in this tunnel. Two more steps and Ziggy didn’t notice that the tunnels floor fell off at a thirty degree angle. With slick jello coated shoes Ziggy went down the tunnel at an alarming speed. “Of all days, today I had to wear Fastskin,” he thought. He had dropped his flashlight and darkness swallowed him. The tunnel made a few sharp turns bouncing him off the wall, then as suddenly as it began, the ride was over. Ziggy was in a large cavern filled with little people singing “It’s A Small World After All.”

  5. Underfoot there were mounds and piles of Triple AAA batteries that were used up. So this is where old batteries go to die, thought Zygote, his feet going out from under him suddenly. The singers stopped their high-pitched rendition and scowled at the big person in the weird suit and goggles. “Roll him to the pit!” they cried, and all two dozen of them converged on a thrashing Zygote who could not get his footing.

    “Aauurrggguurrgglleee!” screamed Zygote as they slipped him over onto his stomach and pushed him toward a black pit, using the battery cylinders as rollers. “Valderi, valdera,” sang the little people, pushing in rhythm. “I love to go a wandering, my knapsack on my back.”

    And with one last shove they sent poor Zygote, feet first, into the black pit.

  6. Blackness. Nothing. No light. No sound.

    I’m dead, thought Ziggy. So this is what it’s like. No pearly gates, no St. Peter and the Big Book. Just rolling off into nothing on a rollercoaster of used-up AAA batteries. Guess it’s better than D batteries. Those would leave bruises. At least I can’t hear those screeching munchkins singing that infernal song. That’s worth dying for.

    Ziggy remembered when Steve Jobs died and the memorial cartoon of Jobs waiting for St. Peter to find his name in the Big Book. “I have an app for that,” says Jobs.

    Ziggy laughed out loud. “Steve! Can you hear me? Do you have an app this THIS?”

    “Wait a minute. I can hear,” said Zig. “Does that mean I’m not dead? If someone dies in a tunnel and there’s no one around to hear, does it count? “

    He tried to move, first his head, then an arm, then just a finger. Nothing moved. Though he could feel his muscles strain, he couldn’t move. He concentrated on the pinky finger of his right hand. There definitely was something holding it down. He tried the other hand with the same result. Then his legs. Ditto.

    “Oh, for Pete’s sakes,” said Ziggy. “I’m in Gulliver’s Travels!”

  7. “Zygote….zygote…ziggy… wake up! ” said his best friend Dan, shaking Zygote’s shoulder.
    Zygote raised his head from the stack of books where he had fallen asleep in the library. He looked at Dan, and realized he had been dreaming!
    “Ziggy, let’s go, it is time for chem lab.”
    “Sh*t, how long was i out?”
    “Just five minutes” said Dan gathering his books and stuffing them in his backpack.
    “You go ahead, it is just a review class so I will stay here and study for the finals.”
    Dan nodded and left.
    It was evening and Zygote stayed till everyone left. He quietly slipped in a corner behind the west side of the building that he knew was the most deserted and overlooked by the last security check. When he was finally by himself, he opened his backpack and took out a triangular pod. He pushed a button on the pod and that activated something in a watch he was wearing.
    Zygote set the current date and coordinates on the pod, except for time, he set it for three hours ahead. He then put the pod back in his back pack and hid the back pack behind the shelf.
    Zygote then went over to another shelf where he found the book he was looking for, opened it, took a deep breath as he pushed a button on his watch he was sucked into the tome.

  8. I must have fallen down the wrong tunnel, I’m in the twilight zone of books. That ‘s what happens when you try to go through a library.
    Zygote wondered how many books he had to go through to find his way back to his quest. He laid back takeing a nap only to wake up in Adventure Land. If he was not mistaken he could hear a clock ticking. Did that mean the crockadile was coming for him. He had to think of a way to get out of the book. He tried to go back to sleep. When he woke he was in a Dick and Jane’s book bringing a pale of water up the hill. No! I need to get back to my own world and finish my adventure. So back to sleep he went.
    When he awoke this time he was in a history book. He did not like what he was hearig. Some lady was yelling “Let Them eat cake.” He tried to get out of the ropes that held him to the ground, maybe if he did that; getting out this time zone would be easier. I think I can ,I think I can, I think I can. Chug, Chug .Chug. Oh no another book!

  9. Just as Ziggy lost all hope of returning to his most urgent quest, a big galoot wearing a sweaty, sleevless t-shirt tripped over him.
    “Stella !”
    “Stella !”
    Ziggy jumped at his chance for escape.
    “Hey, buddy, if you untie me, I will lead you to Stella.”
    “Really? That’s an offer I can’t refuse…we are scheduled to dance the last Tango in Paris.”

  10. Zygote couldn’t move. The Lilliputians still had him tied down. His mouth was dry and chewing gum was stuck to his upper denture. He had vivid memories of an enourmous man looming over him, asking him to tango.

    He heard a voice. “Ergot! Ergot! Hey, Ergot!”

    That name sounds familiar, though Zygote. Wonder who they’re calling?

    “Hey, what’s the matter with you, Ergot.? Come on, man. Let’s go. Can’t keep ‘em waiting. Hey, Ergot, you stoned or something?”

    Ziggy’s muscle control returned when someone shook his shoulder, and none too gently. He reached to clear the gum from his denture, then realized he didn’t have one. A nearby water bottle solved the problem.

    “Are you calling me?” he rasped, and took another drink.

    “Well, who else would I be calling? C’mon, Dude. It’s time.”

    “My name isn’t Ergot. It’s Zygote. Ergot is an old remedy for…”

    “I know what it’s for,” said the voice. “I wasn’t calling you Ergot. Good grief, Zygote’s bad enough. Who hated you that much to give you such a name?”

    “Everyone starts out as a zygote,” Ziggy whined, and immediately regretted the defensive tone in his voice.

    “Well, howdy-do. C’mon, you diploid. You’re on in five minutes.”

    “On? In five? Five minutes?”

  11. I rememberd i had to get in costum for the one man show I was doing. As I walked on stage I got into my role as Mark Twain. The white suite helped and then I was in character.
    I told all my stories and then some. the crowd loved it. but toward the end I remember i had an assignment to complete. So I ended the show and went back to sleep. Only to wake up on a river boat on the Mighty Mississippi. Where was my life going now??????

  12. Writer’s Alert: Beautifully descriptive writing today by Lia Hirtz at the Elder Storytelling Place. My favorite line:

    Then, just as quickly as it began, the rain stops and the sun inhales the plumes of vapor back into the sky.

  13. Thanks Gully, I had never heard of Elder Story Telling, but I followed your link and read Rain and subscribed to the site, which I think is wonderful. While I was there I submitted a story and Ronni is going to publish it. My first publishment! I owe it all to you Gully. I plan to split the money with you 50/50. Now that I’m a published writer I think I’ll move to the Latin Quarter and drink absinthe in a sidewalk cafe and stay up all night discussing metaphysics with all the other cool artists.

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