alphabet story

I enjoyed the ‘ten to one‘ writing challenge I did last week so when Nicola suggested doing another challenge this week I was up for it. This week’s it’s an ‘alphabet story’ where you write a story with twenty-six sentences and each sentence has to start with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. Here’s what I came up with:

toy leopard

A leopard had always appealed to her as a pet.

But Ellen, that’s ridiculous!” her mum said.

Can’t you see how dangerous that would be?” added her dad. “Did the snake calamity teach you nothing?”

Ellen considered this: it was true that Patrick the python had caused problems but his snakeish charm had made it worthwhile… perhaps not for her parents’ bank balance though.

Forget I said anything then.” but she herself had no intention of forgetting.

Grey’s Exotic Animal Zoo was deserted as she squeezed in through a gap in the fence later that night. Her heart was pounding so loudly she could almost hear it echoing off the silent buildings around her, but she she was determined to stick to her plan. It shouldn’t be too difficult she thought, urging her trembling legs into action. Just follow the path round the back of the bushes until it reaches the leopard enclosure.

Keeping very quiet she crept along, her torch light sweeping over silent cages and empty pens. Looks like all the animals are asleep, she thought with relief. Maybe that’s for the best considering what I’ve done to the security system! Now, is this where the leopards live?

Oh!

Peering out at her through the bars was a pair of glowing eyes. Quickly Ellen introduced herself and outlined her idea; she knew her life was at risk once the leopard knew his cage was unlocked so it was important to persuade him she was more than just a tasty meal!

Realising there was something interesting about this girl, Xavier listened to what she was proposing. She smelt good but there were other ways to fill his stomach and the life she described sounded tempting; more tempting than a midnight snack? Turning towards the door of his enclosure, he pushed it open with his nose and walked towards her.

Unsure of his intentions, Ellen stood rooted to the spot while the leopard sniffed her. Very well he finally nodded his assent and was gratified to see respect and relief reflected in her eyes.

Walking side by side they made their way back along the moonlit path towards the gap in the fence. Xavier turned his gleaming eyes upon her and Ellen could see what he was thinking. You and I: this is the start of an adventure!

Zoos are no place for wild animals” Ellen smiled back at him,“and I’ve always wanted a leopard as a pet.”

 

When I started the story I had no idea where it would lead so I’m pleased I got it to make some sort of sense! It’s clunky though. There were many sentences I was dying to restructure but I couldn’t because then they would have started with the wrong letter. It’s quite a restrictive way of writing in that way but I also found it quite liberating in a way because it freed me of the ability to tweak the story endlessly as I normally would. It has to remain a bit jagged and imperfect.

Funnily enough, I rather like the idea of Ellen and Xavier (names picked purely to fit the alphabet!) and the adventures they might have together… food for thought…
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28 thoughts on “alphabet story

    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Antonia. There were some sentences I would have written differently but on the whole I was pretty happy with it, considering the constraints!

      Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Elizabeth. The leopard was originally called Ralph then I got as far as X and realised it was either time to introduce a xylophone into the story or to change his name!

      Reply
  1. Carol Cameleon

    What a fantastic way to write a story Maddy! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and, like Sophie, I wonder if there could be a series in the pipeline… ;) I’m very tempted to give it a go myself. Thanks for linking up to #WonderfulWorldofWriting again :)

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Vai Chin – I didn’t even consider what X would be till I got there and then had to change the leopard’s name to fit!

      Reply
  2. Nicola Young

    Maddie this is fab. You can tell how much you enjoyed doing this just by reading it! It’s hard to do a story in so few words and with the added challenge of making each line begin with the next letter of the alphabet, it gets even trickier. You’ve shown, though that it can be done without compensating on creativity and imaginative ideas.

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Nicola – what a lovely comment, you’ve really made me smile! And you’ve right – I really did enjoy writing it – I was having a bad day and it took my mind off it. The story pretty much flowed out just as it is (bar the leopard’s name) and it was nice to write something so quickly. Thanks again for the inspiration! xx

      Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks John, yes you should have a go, it’s a fun challenge! Actually it probably only took me about an hour including a bit of minor editing. I can easily spend ages editing a story but this is basically as it came out. It was kind of like the alphabet did the work for me by giving me a pattern to follow.

      Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      The ‘X’ made me stop and think but in a funny kind of way following the alphabet made telling the story easier, I think because I had fewer options about what to write next. Sometimes being restricted is quite liberating – I was freed from editing (pretty much!) Thanks for commenting Sara and you should definitely try it yourself – let me know if you do!

      Reply
  3. Emily Organ

    This story made me smile, really clever! I think I might have a go at this challenge too. A fun story which comes across as effortless but probably required a lot of effort!

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Emily. Have go, it might surprise you! I’d be really interested to read what you come up with and how you find the writing experience. xx

      Reply
  4. Morgan Prince

    When I read Nicola’s post a couple of weeks ago about the writing exercises I decided to give them a try at some point. I love what you came up with, I can imagine this one was quite difficult. I love the name Xavier though, even if it was just to fit in with the alphabet! I like where you went with this story. xx

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Victoria, you know I hadn’t considered the teaching element of it but you’re right, as it’s a children’s story that’s a good idea! xx

      Reply

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