Friday, December 22, 2006

Collaborative Story Writing - Chain Story

I am never at a loss for ideas for short stories. For me, all I have to do is physically start writing, and the stories just come out. It is just like turning on a water tap. The only thing is, once I get started, I can't stop. Even worse, once I start editing and rewriting, I can't stop. Meanwhile, there are new stories coming in before I've had a chance to even look over the ones I've just written. I don't know how many stories and books I have sitting in my notebooks. My problem is that my notebooks and discs are with all my other stuff in my Mom's garage in New Jersey. Otherwise, I would publish them here.

I did send off two of my stories to magazines. I got the "Writer's Digest Short Story Market Guide", and sent them off to the best magazines listed. I figured you start at the top, then work your way down, and find your level.

Nothing got accepted, but if there is such a thing as good rejections, that's what I got. Things like handwritten notes from the editor, saying that what I wrote wasn't right for them now, but please keep submitting. Or we like what you wrote, but would like to see other samples of your work. Or we think you have talent, keep writing. I guess you could call them encouraging rejections.

Well, due to certain things, some beyond my control (such as a total idiot stealing the election), and other personal things which I may write about later, I wasn't able to follow up and keep submitting. Dissapointed with the political situation in the USA, and with my romantic life and job prospects, I left the USA in 2002, to try to see if life would be better for me elsewhere in the world. (Sure enough, it has been. I now have a wonderful loving wife, and a job that I love).

Sometimes the ideas just come to me, and I start writing them. I start making connections that other people don't think about. Anything can set me off, such as finding out that the first Superman comic was first published in 1934. Clark Kent was probably about 22 then, and fresh out of college. Thatmeans Superman is 94. He's getting old.

So what would the world be like if Superman suddenly started going senile?

I actually wrote that one. I liked it too. Hopefully one day I can call my Mom up, and convince her to wade through all my stuff, and send me my writings. Actually, from what she's told me, there is less and less of my stuff in her garage all the time. Since she figures I'll never be coming back to the USA, (and rightly so), she has either thrown out or given away some of my stuff. How much, I'm not sure. Knowing my Mom, it's probably stuff that I would never part with, but that she can see no use for.

Since I can't get to my original stories how about helping me write some new ones? How about a collaborative writing project at John's Universe? We can try something I do in my ESL (English as a Second Language) classes- a "chain story".

I will write the first sentence or two of the story, then someone else can write the next sentence or paragraph, someone else the next, etc, until we have a complete story. Once it is complete, then I will publish it complete as a new entry. If you want, I will give you credit as an author, so your friends and family can see how talented you are.

In class, this is always a fun thing to do. Most of the time when my students do this, the stories end up original, unusual, and hilarious, or at least with a shocking twist. When the exercise is complete, they usually spend the rest of the period reading over each others stories, and laughing.

As I am new to this blogging thing, the only way I know how to do it is to start the story as a comment to this posting. Then anyone who wants to add something, can do so by adding a comment below it, and then someone else can add something to what that person has written, and so on. (Please- let's keep it fairly clean. I don't want hardcore porn. Anything like that will be edited out).

So is anyone up for it? Check the comments: