The Answer Room – Addendum

The responses I received to the Answer Room were very interesting indeed, and honestly a bit surprising. Many of you stated that you might not want answers at all, and after reading that it started me thinking. So much so I fell asleep that night contemplating unanswered questions and scenarios where I might turn my head away from the answer. The following morning I climbed in the shower and ended up staying there until the water ran cold. My thoughts from the night before had seeded an idea for a story and I couldn’t let it go until I had built a suitable framework around it. This is what I came up with and I think it’s the beginning to a really interesting story. It’s still real rough.

White. All around me. Nothing but snowy-white. But I wasn’t in the snow. I wasn’t sure where I was, if anywhere. The whiteness seemed endless, going on forever. There were no walls, no furniture, nothing had definition and there no way to orient myself. Just emptiness…and white. I think I was standing upright, but there was no way to tell.

Normally this was just the sort of situation where I’d get really nervous and begin hyperventilating, but instead I felt unusually calm. I had to be dreaming. That would explain everything. But this was unlike any dream I had ever experienced before. Then I remembered a sensation of floating, looking down on a roomful of people all wearing blue or green scrubs with matching skullcaps. They were huddled over somebody lying on a table and a nervous energy filled the room. When one of the women shifted her position, I caught a glimpse of the face that belonged to the body on the table. IT WAS ME.

Then I was here, wherever that is.

I began to feel a presence near me. I spun around, but there was only more white. I pivoted back and a searing bright light forced my eye lids shut. I tried to open them again, but the light was too intense. Instinctively I lowered my head, cupped my hand over my brow, and tried again. This time I could almost make out an image. There was somebody, or something, there in the light. I couldn’t tell who or what it was, but I wasn’t afraid. I felt…comforted.

“You may ask one question,” a voice said. But I didn’t really hear the voice. It was more like…I thought it.

“I’m guessing I’m dead, right?” I didn’t feel my lips move as I asked the question. It was like the voice…I just thought it.

“Is that your question?”

“No…no, it’s not. An explanation would be helpful.”

“Under normal circumstances the answers to all of your questions would be revealed to you now. But you will be returning to your mortal life soon, yet you may have one question answered before you go as a token of your time here,” the internal voice responded.

“Any question?”

There was no reply, but I perceived a positive vibe. The possibilities flooded my mind, but suddenly the question was in my head almost before I could finish formulating it.

“Who killed my brother?”

Although I couldn’t make out the person I was communicating with, I had the distinct impression a frown had appeared on his face.

“Are you sure that’s the question you want answered?”

“Positive.”

“Very well. It was you.”

Shock paralyzed me for a moment. “That can’t be. He was killed by a hit and run driver and I wasn’t even in the same state when it happened. I didn’t kill my brother.”

“Use the information wisely,” was the voices only response.

“Wait a minute!” I tried to open my eyes to look directly at my host, but my eyelids wouldn’t stay open. “You promised me an answer and I –“

Agonizing pain. Grogginess. Nausea.

“Sinus rhythm. He’s back,” I heard to my left. I sensed that I was back on the gurney in the emergency ward I had witnessed from up high. A fire was ablaze in my chest and I was seconds away from puking, but only one thought filled my head.

I didn’t kill my brother.


I’m thinking this is could be an interesting premise for a short story or novel, probably in the YA genre. Any opinions? No fair blowing flowers up my shorts…just the honest scoop please.

24 comments

  1. Thanks for following my blog!
    And I lived in Jacksonville and N. Little Rock for five years.

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  2. It sounded interesting to me. Don't know about the YA part, though.

    If the story sticks with you, then it must be written, right?

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  3. Ooh, I liked it! I'm not just "blowing flowers up your shorts" (I think I will now try to use that expression at least once a week, it made me laugh!)

    Here is why I liked it: It immediately put the reader into the story. You wonder why he almost died on the table, why his brother is dead, and how he was involved. Even though you're immediately put into the action, the reader doesn't feel an information dump, but they still feel like they are invested in the characters.

    Good work!

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  4. Thanks for following my blog.
    I won't blow flowers up your shorts. *blushes* I'm not that kinda girl.

    I love the story. It immediately had my attention, and had me wondering so many things.
    I didn't get an idea of how old this person is (maybe you haven't decided yet) but, I think it could work for YA.
    I know agents are looking for YA with a male voice. But, don't write it YA for that reason, if it doesn't feel right.

    Good luck on your journey.
    I look forward to following your progress.

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  5. OOOoooooooooooooo I actually got shivers on 'Who killed my brother?' SchnnggCk. (That's my happy plot twist sound).
    That's an awesome beginning. I hope you see it through!!

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  6. I agree that there is real potential here. It's these small seeds of thought that spur our writing, right? So, follow it ... play it out ... muse on it ... find the cast of characters. Only then will you know what it is meant to be.

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  7. Good twist with the "It was you," part. I didn't see that coming. You could probably do a lot with it, but YA might be limiting it. There's a new adult genre that's been making some headway as a respectable genrea. Maybe that would work.

    Overall though, good writing, nice little twist and some mystery to keep me wanting to know what happens next.

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  8. well you had me with the "you killed your brother" line. I have no idea how you're going to work through that, though. I mean, a different state? Crazy!

    I think you should do it. I could easily see it being a novel

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  9. Do it DL! I wasn't sure at first, then I got to the part where you were in a different state and now I wanna know what's next.

    And by the way...flowers are not what I blow.

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  10. Eleven positive comments and no poo-poo's. Of course one could rationalize (so I will) that anybody with a negative impression wouldn't have left a message at all.

    Anyway, I feel strongly about the idea...I just don't have time to focus on it. I'm trying to finish up one book, have another just itching to be re-written, and two short stories that need polishing. But my real reason for hesitation is that I don't feel I am the right person for the material. It will demand an emotional depth I have never tapped into before...and it makes me nervous. Anyway, if somebody else would like to take a stab at it, be my guest. Just send me an e-mail and I'll provide the rest of the notes I'd jotted down about how the plot would possibly play-out.

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  11. I know I already commented here, so I'll just say that I left you an award on my blog: http://www.tianalei.com You don't have to do anything with it, I just wanted to give you some recognition. :)

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  12. Well, you've already said 'pass' on it, but if you stood in the shower conjuring up the thing, stayed up late wondering, and jotted down the notes, I'm thinking this one will re-visit you when you're ready. These things happen. I liked it... wanted to know where it went. Maybe just stick with the answer room idea... like you said, endless possibilities.
    BTW, THANK YOU for the encouragement!

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  13. Hello! Thanks for the follow. I do appreciate it. This sounds like a very intriguing start to a novel. I'd be interested in reading more!

    Happy Thursday,
    Jen

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  14. I'm not just saying this to make you feel good... That was awesome. I tend to read the first pages of a book before buying it and if I read this I would buy it for sure. I want to know what happens now...

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  15. Okay...now I want to know the answer to how he killed his brother. You got me hooked. No fair.
    Winged Writer

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  16. If you guys keep heaping praise on it like that...I'll never be able to let it go.

    ARGHH!!

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  17. Congrats on the new story! Very good snippet. Follow is and see where it takes you; you can't regret giving it your best.
    I gave you an award on my blog. Swing by to
    pick it up.

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  18. Interesting stuff. I like the premise. Definitely keep going :o)

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  19. Seriously, DL. You don't have to 'give away' the story because you don't have time right now. That's what notebooks are for :D Jot it down, let it simmer and who knows, by the time you're ready to focus on it, it might have fleshed out even more.

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  20. I'm in with the others. Great start to an intriguing tale. If it's easy to give up, though, it was never meant to be. Somehow, I don't think that will happen. It will pop its head in every once in a while and when the time is right - whether you think it is or not - it won't leave you alone. And so much the better for you if it pushes you beyond your comfort zone, past your boundaries. Something this detailed, so beautiful and compelling that it makes you stop what you're doing to jot it down is meant to be yours. You just have to be willing to accept it...when you're ready. I hope to read the whole story one day. Best wishes!

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  21. The best part is that he is off balance the whole time. Which, in turn, causes the reader to also be unsure about what's really happening. Delightful intrigue.

    I think you should keep it for yourself. It's your hesitency that forces me to think how important this one might be to your writing career. Because you know it's going to take everything you have to make it as good as you think it could be.

    Just think about that...

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  22. Hi DL, hopefully this will make it to you.
    I was scrolling through my feed reader, and it landed on this random post.
    I read your story idea, and your follow-up comment.
    I hope you reconsidered and chose not to give it away. Over a month has gone by, and I havent red any of your following posts, but I hope you will consider writing this.
    First, it was intriguing and I liked it enough to really want to know what would happen next.
    More importantly, the fact that you were in the shower so long pondering, while it niggled at you...these are the stories that have legs and want to be told.
    But, when you said you didnt think you could write it, that it required too much emotional depth-THIS is the story you MUST write. Why? Because you already see enough of the story that it scares you. Fear, oh hell no. We kick fear's ass.
    These "fear" moments are the rare gifts, THE gift of major growth in our writing.
    Some of the greats would say that you should only write the books that you are terrified to write.

    If it's still lingering in your mind, I do hope you'll seriously consider writing your story. It is only yours to write.

    ~Lola

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