By Nichole Giles
On Tuesday, Darvell mentioned that our large writer's group is collaborating on a group-written Christmas story. I got to write on the third day, and so had the opportunity to add my portion in the beginning. That meant I was able to introduce an important character to the story. Not that I had the chance to make him important, the people who wrote after me have done that. Now I'm hoping for a second chance to write. Maybe I'll have the opportunity to help wrap it up toward the end.
So far, our action packed story has allowed the main character to survive a car accident, take trips to China and Idaho looking for her missing husband, and introduced a man who may or may not be an angel. Every day, we all wait for the next installment, biting our nails (figuratively) while we wait to see what happens next. Each chapter is shaped by the writer whose turn falls on that particular day. Because of that, none of us can even guess where our story will end.
The thing with collaborations is that no one person has control over the outcome. We aren't working from an outline of any kind, and it's a total free-writing exercise. Being writers, we hope for a good story, but as people, we're excited to participate in a sort of game that stretches our minds and requires nothing but our random creative thoughts.
If someone decides ninjas are going to jump out of the sky and pull our main character out of the plane to skydive into the ocean where she discovers the remnants of the lost Atlantis, well, that's what will happen. And the group will cheer for the author of that chapter while we wait for the next one to be written.
Our story will never be published (unless we decide to post portions on our group website or something.) That isn't the intention. We're learning to write together, to bounce ideas off other people, and to share our work—however rough—and our glory—however minor—with other writers.
And whatever we expect of this story, no one knows the outcome. Yet!
Sometimes, you don't need any more incentive than to have your peers waiting to cheer you on. Everyone needs a little bit of cheer now and then. That's what this project is about.
(Update: Cindy Beck and I, co-authors, have officially opened the LDS Humor blog, (www.ldshumor.blogspot.com) which will be sort of a ‘pre-show’ for our upcoming book, which will be released sometime next summer. Check it out, it’s always good for a laugh.)