I know that to many of you, this will seem downright ridiculous. You may even be right. But I had this random idea while writing one of the many story-portions I work on in my downtime at work; what if everyone you knew helped you write a story, one chapter at a time?
So, here’s the deal. I will write one short introductory chapter, in order to introduce key characters and give us a foundation upon which to build a larger narrative. From that chapter, I will ask that each of you who choose to participate give suggestions for what should happen in the next chapter. Don’t get ahead, and don’t get exited. One chapter at a time. I am asking that you give at least one suggestion per chapter, be it an event, a new supporting character, a single line of dialogue or even a setting. If you have ideas for more than one, great.
Once I have everyone’s suggestions (I think I will give it about a week for response time, depending on the length of the chapter), I will write the next chapter, using the best – or easiest to work with, more likely – suggestions from those of you who contribute. I may not use an idea you really like, so you should be prepared for that, but since we won’t be stopping until we come up with a satisfactory ending, there is plenty of time for everyone to get a few ideas in. If you think that you will be easily offended if your ideas are passed over, please reconsider your participation. I do not want to lose friends and/or create enemies with this little project.
Suggestions on how to improve already written chapters will also be part of this project, and as we go, I may set up some specific time-frame for everyone to submit editing suggestions. However, part of my curiosity here is to find out if I can [still?] write, so I may put my foot down on a turn of phrase or a particular line of dialogue now and again.
There will be a point – I hope we will know it when we get there – when we will have to move past character development and get the story moving. There will come another point when we will have reached what will become the middle of the story, and we will have to zip the plot along at break-neck speed. There will come a point when we will reach the climax, and will have to create tension and drama, or gut-wrenching action. There will come a point when we will reach the end, and we will have to wrap up the loose ends and bid our characters farewell – though not necessarily a fond one. They could be horrible people, to a man, for all I know at the moment. The marrow of this little endeavor, the prize we have to claw our way to, is seeing if we can find these points effectively enough, as a group, that the story is worth reading when we’re done. We may fail. We may succeed. We may give up. Maybe that’s part of our story. But at least we will have tried.
If you don’t want to contribute, but would like to follow along, that’s fine, too. And don’t feel that you can’t contribute later on down the road if the mood strikes you.
I have no idea how this will work, if at all, or how long it will take. I just know that I am too curious not to at least attempt it. So start ripping my prose a new @$$ hole, and let’s get on with it.