National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, encourages participants to write the first draft of a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. This fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing is celebrated every year in November.
But not everyone has a novel in them. To encourage more patrons to flex their writing muscles without the pressure of writing a whole book, the York County Public Library hosted a Collaborative Story Board. The project encouraged patrons to work together to write a story. Patrons contributed one line at a time to a story based off of staff-written prompts. Staff moved the story forward as need, but in the end, dozens of patrons contributed to a unique writing experience. Here for the first time, is the Collaborative Short Story Collection composed by YCPL patrons.
The Red Sweatshirt
I often wonder what my life would be like now if I hadn’t picked up that dirty, red sweatshirt laying under the bridge. In the pocket I found the note that changed everything. Inside was a dogtag (from the war), a silver dollar, and the note started, “From the Future to the Past, you are the Messenger of Hope and Love the world is waiting for …”
I dropped the note like a hot frying pan; what a crazy notion!
At first it had shocked me, but now here I stand – a cadet at one of America’s most prestigious military academies, Trenton. Then a girl turned to me, about 19 years of age and said, “What an awful day. It’s all gloomy.” Rain aside, it was the day of the big training test. Suddenly, I knew I was about to get busy preparing for it. But before I could start, an explosion went off and I thought to myself, “Cam, dude, this might be the end!”
So I pulled out my trusty red sweatshirt and said the magic words … SHAZAM!!!, and I was safely back home in my bed.
It was a quiet day on the ranch. The horses were acting strangely. They sniffed the air expectantly. The smell of fear engulfed the breeze.
Suddenly, a massive figure appeared on the horizon. Behind it stood thousands of tiny, glowing creatures, ready for action. The tiny glowing creatures were controlled by a Lavahound. It was looking harmfully at the horses. The Lavahound howled fiercely and began to chase the horses across the open prairie. It was a very long chase, but, eventually, both animals collapsed tiredly onto the grass.
He suddenly woke up, “It was a freaky dream.” He happily went back to sleep!
But that left a greater questioned unanswered. Who is HE?? And who were those tiny glowing creatures — pixies? Fairies? He sat up in bed, tense and restless, so he limped over to his safe haven: the bay window and he saw … nothing.
The window flashed with a brilliant light, and all he heard was his name being quietly chanted before his world went black.
Where am I? Who are you? Get away!!
It was a dream and he woke up! He woke up and realized he had insomnia and would never sleep or dream again. Then he looked out the window and saw that the apocalypse had started! Then he fainted and woke up in the hospital.
Cam was scared. When he woke he jumped out of bed and he ran outside and he saw the sky was red. Cam was surprised to see his best friend outside crying. So he sat down to comfort him.
Once upon a time, a few mistakes ago, I was in your sight. You were holding a book. I couldn’t believe what I saw. You, Cam Cooper, were holding a book! A BOOK!
“Cooper! What’s gotten into you?” I snatched the book from your hands.
“It’s Cam,” you replied, trying to loosen my grasp on the paperback, “And relax, it’s a comic book.”
“Where did I put that sandwich?” she thought. Did her brother eat it? That would be a shame – it was truly a glorious creation. Except when I began to bite into the sandwich, it slowly disappeared from my hands, leaving me hungry and confused. My mom said it was magic, but I didn’t believe it.
What happened to that dang sandwich? I really do not know what happened to that dang sandwich. Did it really DISAPPEAR? I do not know. My little brother said it did. What a shame! But I maybe believe it was Junie B Jones and her big fat mouth.
“When did the dragon get in?” she exclaimed.
It should be noted that the dragon was wearing a dirty, red sweater. Most importantly, he was holding a glorious sandwich.
“What? I ordered a ciabatta bread sandwich! Not this whole wheat garbage!” exclaimed the dragon. The dragon was truly fired up over this sandwich kerfuffle, so his friend tried to change the subject. “Why is your red sweater dirty?”
The dragon replied, “Because I was fighting, what do you think?”
And the rain continued to plummet the valley in which the fight pursued. At that point his opponent came out.
It was a purple striped giraffe! The giraffe charged in and started eating the ciabatta sandwich.
“No! Not my sandwich,” said the dragon. He charged and said, “I don’t care if it’s half-eaten. I want my sandwich!”
So they started to fight until the dragon was victorious.
A Penguin in the Bathtub
At quarter past four, I discovered something rather surprising – there was a penguin in the bathtub. Turning to face me, the penguin opened its beak and squawked: “Splash, splash, homie.”
“What did you say to me?” I said confused. I turned around and yelled “Mom!”
No Response. Where was Mom? Why wasn’t she answering? “Mooooommmm!”
She was out at Kroger. But my dead was here so I yelled “Daaaadddd!”
He came down the stairs with his computer in his and was talking in the phone so I couldn’t talk to him. I didn’t know what to do.
Once upon a time, there was a fierce dragon that was eating all of the buffalo in the land. The dragon also had an affinity for wearing red sweaters. The dragon’s name was Fire. He like to eat a lot.
Sometimes, though, he would accidentally set his sweaters on fire. Thankfully his grandma could easily knit him more. But one day he burned all of his sweaters and his grandma forgot how to make them. Thank goodness there is Amazon so the dragon could buy more sweaters whenever he wanted.
He lived in a solitary cave alone and far away from all other dragons.
One day a small blue eyed girl arrived at the mouth of the dragon’s cave. Her name was Sparrow. She did not like the dragon. But the dragon liked her because she had good clothes on.