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The World Story Book

Various Authors. Administration/Writing & First-Pass Editing by Edge O. Erin

The World Story Book (#WorldStoryBook) is a project designed to create a novel drawing upon the writing talents of dozens of authors from around the world.

We're now 21,300-words & eight chapters into the book and 31 writers from 12 nations have made contributions. Updates are posted at www.theworldstorybook.com (Twitter: @worldstorybook1). AND #WSBYA (The World Story Book young adult edition) is underway! Visit www.theworldstorybook.com for more info.

There is now an opportunity for writers to not just write a few paragraphs or pages in the book, but also write additional backstory's about the characters. How did Marcus survive on the streets? What is Black-Hat really like? Is Wu Ming a product of her being raised by a Chinese family in Malay society, or did her affiliation with MSS mold her into a lethal killer? How did Ospina manage to train his crocodiles? Or, how about, Simalungun in the past? Opportunities abound in the #WorldStoryBook and #WSBbackstory. Message me here or @EdgeOErin1 on Twitter. An example of a "Backstory" is what I've written for the #WorldStoryBook character "Black-Hat:"
They were good people and deserved better than a shallow grave in the tundra that the wild would purge or overwhelm in a few years, if not this very winter. They were good people, foolish, but good. Surviving in southern Siberia was hard enough for the Yerle Qalyq, or “older inhabitants,” let alone dumbed-down Soviet Tatars from Novosibirsk. His father was a giant of a man with a darkish complexion and not unaccustomed to hard work and overcoming challenges. Certainly, killing the brown bear with a knife and axe evidenced his strength and determination. His mother, though, was not a Baraba Tatar but a whiter – and as she often liked to say - “more refined Volga Tatar.” She was meant more for wearing gold than prospecting for it a hundred miles from a city. Now she was even paler as she lay frozen beside her husband.
The seventeen-year-old boy collected what rocks he could that weren’t frozen down or embedded in permafrost and placed them over the deceased. It was hard to look at his father’s mangled frozen face and torn body. His mother had died of shock. The boy had haphazardly skinned the brown bear for he desperately needed something, anything, to eat, and as he didn’t need another large fur, he pulled the hide over his parents before adding more rocks. Only their faces remained uncovered, and as he drank some hot broth in an attempt to stop from freezing to death, he looked upon his parents with fondness, sadness, and a modicum of anger. He added some more stones and shed a few tears. His father’s big black Kolpat blew across the ground to him, and he put it over his father’s face. Incredibly, with all the torn-up blood-spattered ground, it was undamaged and spotless. He decided to pick it up and put it on; it fit perfectly. He said some words, stuffed as much bear meat as he could into his backpack, and started walking south.

#WSBbackstory for Abdul Abadi


I couldn’t help thinking about what we buried at the Turtle Islands. The grunt of the sea turtles digging their nests forever ringing in my ears, how the beasts lumbered to dig holes that would build life, while we dug them for what was already dead. It was more than a mark this time. She had been my love. And I paid for it, oh I paid. Twice.

“Abdul!” My brother had hissed in my ear as we slid the boat to its rocky dock. “The rangers?” He had a wild look about him, but I wasn’t worried about some pansy park rangers. I should have been, though.

“Relax, brother,” I’d told him. “My pockets run deep,” I reminded him.

We grabbed the trunk, each carrying an end, and made to cross the beach full of the turtle heifers padding over the sand, some crawling on top of each other. We had to dance and pick our way around the beasts. Good thing they were gentle giants. We just had to time our dance with the spotlights that swept back and forth, looking for poachers, and we’d be Scott free, deep in the jungle where vines and mud would encapsulate my secret love forever. But I ended up with two secrets that night: my brother—Bismallah may he be granted eternal paradise—did not make it out alive.

— Submitted by Samantha Kolber, Montpelier, Vermont, USA

    #WSBBackstory for Sizwe Bhengu

    by Sinegugu Ntombe

    Sizwe Bhengu came from a poor background.
    Corporal punishment was commonplace in those times. He always thought his father despised him; just thinking of the man caused him to salivate and spit. Sizwe couldn’t fathom why he couldn’t be hit with the branch of a nearby tree? But to be beaten by the very belt he used to tie up his loose-fitting, tattered pants seemed petty and useless. Why did the repulsive man always expect his hunt to be successful?
    Every time he was punished, his sisters would be petrified, their eyes welling up with tears as they tried to wrap their minds around the whole concept. One day, Sizwe developed a strategy: Lie still and absorb the punishment instead of shrinking from it or voicing a complaint. It worked, the beating was less severe, and when he got up from the dusty, blood-spattered ground to make a run for it, he could see the joy in his sister’s faces.
    Unfortunately, his father also learned from experience. His father would pin him to the ground under the weight of his massive leg and heavy heel. Often the foot was on his back, but occasionally it would be on the back of his neck. He recalled seeing the sun glinting off the brass-tipped boot as it swung back and forth, delivering blow after blow into his stomach, chest, thighs, sometimes even his head. It was brutal having the living daylights beaten out of your own father, but Sizwe had survived.
    He seldom had soft porridge and cereals for breakfast like the girls. He had to eat sorghum for breakfast and water to down it. It was, however, a good source of protein, and it helped him grow strong. Sorghum, exercise, hunting, punishment, repeat; until he became the sole provider for the family.
    These days, Sizwe used hunting dogs to secure decent meals for his entire family. It was how he learned to be cautious and meticulous, to calculate every move he made, to aim carefully, and fire with precision. Lord knows, he had learned not to fail.
    As his muscles and skills grew, so did his reputation. He heard what people said, “There goes Sizwe Bhengu… the epitome of a handsome, intelligent, young man.”
    It was good to hear, though sometimes when he caught his reflection in the water, he saw his father.
    - Submitted by Sinegugu Ntombe, South Africa