Over the years, I’ve started and left unfinished a number of stories. Some of them never developed past a few pages, while others reached tens of thousands of words. The one constant between them all is that, for one reason or another, I got away from each of them before any were ever completed.
A couple of these stories have been sitting around for 5-10 years at this point. Chances are much greater that I’d start work on one of many newer, fresher, more interesting, more compelling, and more developed ideas sooner than I’d reboot most of them – as much as I may enjoy how some of them started. But that led me to an idea…
An idea that I’ve had in my head for years revolves around community-written stories. In 9th grade, my English class had to do an exercise that I’m sure many people had to do in 9th grade. One person wrote a paragraph or two of a story (I wrote 5 pages on my turn), then passed it to another person so they could continue where the last left off. This went on between every person in the room until everyone had written a part and the story was complete. Everyone had the freedom to do whatever they wanted with the plot, characters and ideas that had been developed before them. With the number of creative minds involved, these exercises almost always create a completely ludicrous, non-linear story full of absurdities and constantly changing styles and tones. It sounds nuts, and makes for a very unusual read, but that’s also what makes it entertaining. The story we created in 9th grade was hilarious and great fun to read, and that’s why I often revisit the copy of it that remains in my office today. What started off as a dramatic tale about a man fleeing the devastation of west coast earthquakes ended with an amusement park machete fight between Orville Redenbacher and a man named Habib who had liquified Spam for blood.
So with that said, why not offer up my novel bits as the foundations for some community-written stories? They aren’t doing anyone any good sitting on my hard drive and in Google Docs. They should be read, and everyone should have the chance to finish them as they see fit.
This site is still very fresh and has a rather meager following, as it’s only been online for two weeks. I’m working on improving that. If you like this idea and think it would be fun to read what other people contribute, even if you don’t want to write anything yourself, I’ll need help launching the idea and getting the word out. Spread this post over your social networks, build discussion through the comments, and hit me with feedback through Twitter. It won’t happen without participation. If all goes well, I’ll be posting the first chunk to work with very soon and am looking forward to what we can do. Especially if it involves machete fights with deceased pop culture icons.