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One Book - One Lincoln - 2008

One Book One Lincoln A joint venture of the Lincoln Journal Star and Lincoln City Libraries One Book - One Lincoln - 2008
Story Starters

The Thirteenth Tale

Story Starters

Several of the main themes of "The Thirteenth Tale" relate to storytelling -- what is the nature of "truth" when someone experienced at fabricating stories is forced to look at their own life? Where does the creative impulse come from that allows people to construct richly detailed worlds that have never existed in reality?

As part of this year's One Book -- One Lincoln events, we invite you to submit your own stories...either autobiographical or completely fictional in nature. Below, you will find several "story starters" -- evocative photographs, or lines from our selected novel. Pick one (or more) of these hopefully inspirational photos or lines and see where it takes you creatively. Perhaps it will spark a memory from your past, and you'll share a bit of family history. Or maybe you're feeling especially creative and a fragment of an original story will be inspired by what you find here. Go ahead and fill out our submission form (available on this page shortly!) Then keep checking back...we'll post your stories here on the One Book -- One Lincoln website for everyone to appreciate!


1 from flickr user elephipelephi
[photo from flickr member elephipelephi used per creative commons license]

2 book and roses
3 from flickr user tim_d
[photo from flickr member tim_d used per creative commons license]

4 stairs
5 from flickr user karlequin
[photo from flickr member karlequin used per creative commons license]

6 dress
7 from flickr user prosto photos
[photo from flickr member prosto photos used per creative commons license]

8 doors
9 bench
10 canopy
11 from flickr user tosaytheleast
[photo from flickr member tosaytheleast used per creative commons license]

12 misty bridge
13 old house

14 box
15 gathering for tea

16 twins
17 from flickr user m.v. jantzen
[photo from flickr member m v jantzen used per creative commons license]

18 from flickr user olivander
[photo from flickr member olivander used per creative commons license]


[1] -- I was adjusting the long-distance lens when I caught a slight movement at the edge of the frame. Not my ghost. The children were back. They had seen something in the grass, were bending over it excitedly. What was it? A snake? Curious, I fine-tuned the focus to see more clearly. . . .

[2] -- Preparing to walk a long way around the boundary to find a way in, I had taken only a few steps when I came to a small wooden gate set in a wall with nothing but a latch to fasten it. In an instant I was inside. . . . [Pg. 126]

[3] -- I woke early. Too early. The monotonous fragment of a tune was scratching at my brain. With more than an hour to wait before . . . . [Pg. 79]

[4] -- I left home on an ordinary winter day . . . [Pg. 37]

[5] -- Hester's gifts of insight and intelligence were quite extraordinary. Yet counterbalancing these talents was the fact that she did not know quite who she was up against. [164]

[6] -- A great many years had passed since I learned . . . . [Pg. 253]

[7] -- Tell me the truth. The words from the letter were trapped in my head, trapped, it seemed, beneath the sloping ceiling of my attic flat, like a bird that has got in down the chimney. It was natural that the boy's pleas should have affected me; I who had never been told the truth, but left to discover it alone and in secret. Tell me the truth. Quite. [24]

[8] -- It was the first time I had been there as an invited guest, and the first thing I noticed . . . [pg. 309]

[9] -- When I came to the edge of the woods, I saw . . . . [pg. 328]

[10] -- Once upon a time there was a house and the house was haunted. The ghost was. . . . [pg. 349]

[11] -- The dead go underground. Words that had arrived fully formed in my mind, leaving no trail behind them. Where had they come from? What tricks had my mind been playing to come up with these words out of nowhere? [281]

[12] -- It was Christmas Eve; it was late; it was snowing hard. . . [pg. 353]

[13] -- "One gets so used to one's own horrors, one forgets how they must seem to other people." [pg. 56]

[14] -- Plunging deep into Miss Winter's story was a way of turning my back on my own. Yet one cannot simply snuff oneself out in that fashion. [pg. 282]

[15] -- "One should always pay attention to ghosts, shouldn't one, Miss Lea?" [pg. 58]

[16] -- I used to think that I loved rain, but in fact I hardly knew it. The rain I loved was genteel town rain, made soft by all the obstacles the skyline put in its path, and warmed by the rising heat of the town itself. On the moors, enraged by the wind and embittered by the chill, the rain was vicious. [pg. 291]

[17] -- Unhappy birthday. From the day I was born, grief was always present. It settled like dust upon the household. It covered everyone and everything; it invaded us with every breath we took. It shrouded us in our own separate miseries. [pg. 292]

[18] -- "Everybody has a story. It's like families. You might not know who they are, might have lost them, but they exist all the same. You might drift apart or you might turn your back on them, but you can't say you haven't got them. Same goes for stories. So," she concluded, "everybody has a story. When are you going to tell me yours?" [pg. 300]

Story Submission Form:

Select one of the photos or story starter lines, from the pull-down list below:

Submit your own story!

In the box below, compose and submit your own short story or autobiographical content that is inspired by the photo or story starter line you selected. Your submission will be reviewed by library staff prior to appearing on the One Book - One Lincoln Web site.

Comments:  (You can also use a word processing program to compose your story, then "cut and paste" the text into this submission box. Any formatting you use -- such as bold, italic or underlining -- will be lost.)

Your First Name and the First Initial of Your Last Name: 

Your Library Card # (all 14 digits or just the last 7 digits):  

Library branch you use most often: 

(Your name and library branch will appear along with your submission on the web site)


If you are having trouble getting this form to work, it may be because you have a firewall or other Internet security software that blocks referrer information; please check our troubleshooting guide.

Note: This form is provided for the convenience of Lincoln City Libraries customers. The information is sent via standard e-mail. Due to the nature of the Internet, Lincoln City Libraries is unable to guarantee the privacy of replies made via this form. Submission of your story via this online form implies consent to allow your story to appear on the One Book One Lincoln website.

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Back to the main One Book - One Lincoln - 2008 page

One Book - One Lincoln - 2007: The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
One Book - One Lincoln - 2006: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
One Book - One Lincoln - 2005: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
One Book - One Lincoln - 2004: Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
One Book - One Lincoln - 2003: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
One Book - One Lincoln - 2002: Plainsong by Kent Haruf