Saturday, March 7, 2009

Group Novel

Several years ago, I tried to read a group novel, a mystery caper by a group of mystery and humor writers, but I didn't finish it. Can't even recall the title. That's not a resounding recommendation for such projects, but perhaps they're not intended for a wide audience, but as an exercise for the writers.

Group stories require writers to continue someone else's plot and characters, and try to keep the story cohesive. The process can be hilarious, surprising, revealing, poignant--or downright nonsensical and silly--but always challenging.

While cruising the earlier entries in the readers' forums at Fear and Trembling online magazine, I re-read a story begun by the former editor, John Kuhn, who posted it in June 2007 with the intention that others would finish it, but no one ever did.

He provided the first chapter; I'm writing the second. After all, a writer shouldn't let a good story go to waste -- but there's no guarantee it'll still be good when I get finished with it. Read Mr. Kuhn's chapter, then come back in a week or so for the next one. After that, maybe someone else will pick up the pen and continue the tale.


Jeff Draper said...

I used to do this all the time with the folks at It was designed originally as role playing through forum posts but they were actually cooperative storytelling events. Great fun but I eventually slid out of it to focus on my own stuff.


Very cool!

I used to visit TOR all the time, but didn't participate in all the stuff on the site. I'd read news, respond to polls, maybe visit site links, that sort of thing.

Jeff Draper said...

I was very active in the forums, particularly the Scriptorium and the Prancing Pony. My screen name was/is Galhadrim.


I'll definitely have to go check out the fiction, then. I haven't been over to the site since there was some brouhaha over the attempts to get a live-action version of The Hobbit off the ground and out of the red tape.