Writing can be a solitary action. We love to interact with others, but when crafting our tales we spend much of our time with only a keyboard of some sort as our main interaction. So far none of my keyboards have a personality or built in grammar feature. (Note to self, design such a wonder in my spare time. . . yeah, right).
So what is a writer to do to engage others and make the creation of fiction more interactive? How about inviting others to collaborate with you to create a story. What do you mean that is blasphemy? We writers are surely protective of our creations and perhaps some are hesitant to allow others to influence their work, but I find this concept very interesting. You see I believe my writing style can use all the exposure to others as possible.
On a previous blogging site I wanted to do something involving several writers, but the interaction was not nearly the same as it is here. It seemed the focus was on everyone bettering himself/herself or their position and not really reaching out to develop relationships or each other. I do not get that same vibe here.
To be fair, the first time I saw the idea on WordPress was with Jennifer M. Eaton’s “Write A Story With Me”. This project is into it’s fiftieth installment of 250 words and has developed into quite a fine story. You want to hear the greatest part? (at least for me?). My addition will post on Monday. If you would like to see what has happened so far, you can follow this link. Write A Story With Me.
Following on to Jennifer’s idea. I recruited a crew of brave souls to craft a similar story with me. But I made it a bit more challenging in a couple of ways. First of all I told them they would have a minimum of 750 words to create their piece of the whole. Also, I gave them little restrictions as far as how they twisted the plot and all they had was a five day lead time from when the preceding chapter was revealed and theirs was due to post. Originally I had thirteen hardy souls, but we lost one due to the constraints the project brought. In the end I was blessed to have the opportunity to finish our creation.
Through this endeavor I deepened friendships with a few others I met during the weekly Friday Fictioneers prompts. I also got the chance to meet and establish new relationships with others I had not worked with before. That is probably one of the things I most enjoy about WordPress, the ability to interact with others. It made this sixty some day project all the more fun as we encouraged each other and promoted the project to our readership.
Now my friend Josh Magill at The Magill Review is recruiting brave writers for another version of this idea. This will be a more flash fiction focused project, with each contributor adding only 100 words to the whole. As I have learned in 26 or so Friday Fictioneer attempts, the 100 word limit really means you have to economize on words to get your point across. If you feel brave and love this kind of challenge give Josh a shout.
Last fall I found a fun little challenge called the Blog Festivus, the brainchild of a fun gal who blogs under the alias of Blogdramedy. Why an alias? No, I won’t spoil the fun of finding out for you. Anyway, the Blog Festivus was a Christmastime challenge in which you took the famous nine reindeer of Santa’s sleigh and wrote a story about each. As usual I went overboard and tried to make an epic, but my nine were pretty funny if I say so myself. If you want to catch up, you can find it here: Blog Festivus 2012.
Blogdramedy is one of those people who knows the fun should not be limited to once a year. She also hosts a summer version of this adventure. It is called Blog Shorts. This year it is a ten part challenge with a line-up of famous pooches as the subjects. If you are interested you should check out her announcement post here: Blogshorts – The Dog Days of Summer. I plan to promote both of Blogdramedy’s challenges because I know how much fun you would have if you joined.
My attempt at the collaborative fiction story was such fun that I want to do another. As of now I have not settled on a name, but I do have a time frame. I want to do a story aimed at the holiday season. I will design a cute little badge like the one Blogramedy did and use it to herald the coming of the fun. I hope you will check out some of these opportunities and come aboard my holiday project.