1. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Theme A Chain Story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Lewdog, Dec 9, 2013.

    Previously I started a thread asking about whether people would be interested in an alternate history book. This time I have what I think might be a much more interesting idea, but I'm not sure if it would work entirely, based on how many people you would have to depend upon taking part in it.

    My idea is to write a book where the first person writes a short story about how they met someone in their life. Then the person they wrote about, then takes a turn writing about someone they met in their life, and so on and so on. This keeps going on until it reaches a specific event, similar to the game Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon. I'm not sure what to make the end point be, but I think it would be a very unique idea.

    There would be a couple rules:

    1. You can't write about the same person twice, unless the end is supposed to come out that way to close the loop.
    2. You have to have gotten to know them, and not just randomly met them somewhere once.
    3. ...and lastly it should be somewhat interesting!

    I'm thinking a cool idea would be to try and hit every state in the U.S., or at a certain amount of countries in the world. I'm open to idea on that part.
     
  2. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I'm not quite sure I understand what you want to do? Is this a story you're trying to write or some kind of mass collaboration or what? If it is all one story written by you, using many different characters, then I can say the only way to make it truly interesting is if the characters begin to form a loop and all seem to be connected by specific events.
     
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  3. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    No a collaboration from actual events and people. For example:

    I write the opening about how I met Joe Smith for the very first time and what the circumstances were and why we got along...blah blah blah.

    Then Joe Smith takes over and writes a short story about how he met Susan Jones.
    Then Susan Jones writes a story about how she met Lucy Miracle.

    All the stories wouldn't get passed along, it would just be up to the person to write the story and send it to me to put all of it together, and get the next person to write their story and so forth.
     
  4. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    That would be a very long story to which I see no point. What would be the story arc/ plot? What is the compelling part of the story? Why would we want to read all of these stories?
     
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  5. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    It shows several view points and the type of people you might meet in some of the most interesting ways. The arc would be whatever the stopping point is. Like it goes on until you get to someone that knows President Obama, or Stephen King, or whomever. It's like an experiment with the daily lives of people that might not be natural writers or had never thought about doing it.
     
  6. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Well it's an interesting idea but it would probably do best to sell as a collection of short stories, in which case it would have to be written very well. It reminds me somewhat of Dennis Johnson's Jesus's Son, which is a collection of short stories that features some recurring characters, though that is the only way the stories are really related. There would have to be something pretty compelling about each person's addition, though, if you want it to do well. :/
     
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  7. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I think it just needs an interesting arc the most to make it work, but I can't think of one just yet.
     
  8. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Good luck, then. :)
    If I were you, I might think of one after you get some stories in, or try and guide one. I can't really help you there-- at least until you have more than just an idea.
     
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  9. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not just trying to be a jerk and discount your opinion but I would like to hear more views.
     
  10. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    That would be wise...
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't see any practical purpose for doing such a thing... the writers would be of all levels of skill, some being not even very readable, so what will the final result be good for?
     
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  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with others that it seems pointless, and I would add probably unpublishable. You could do it as a blog, and maybe you'd get some takers.

    In any case, collaboration is a minefield, and collaboration without a contract much more so.

    Finally, it's not so much a chain as a dogpile.
     
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, it sounds pretty pointless to me. What would be the point? Where would the story be? Which character would we be following? Why should anyone care who the person meets? What's the purpose of meeting these new characters, who's just gonna disappear and do nothing? You say there's a story arc - but how? You'll put it all together - how? None of the stories are related. At best you've just got yourself a bunch of free snippets that could serve as inspiration from which to start a real story of your own - but in and of itself, it is not a story.

    As a writing exercise on a blog or forum, sure, might be cool. As an actual book - nah.
     
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  14. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    No one knows enough people to hit every state. Even with people I know's friends, we would only be hitting 10 states at best.
     
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  15. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Well it sounds as if this was a miss. :D No one hits 100%

    For the record, I said I would put it together, but at no time did I say I wouldn't give the other people credit or take anything away from them for free.
     
  16. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    I think you could do it, but you have to answer the questions presented in this thread, like what's the point, where's the character arc etc.
     
  17. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Oh no, sorry if I implied that you'd just "steal" everyone's work. Not what I meant. What I'm saying is, what you'd put together wouldn't be a story (none of it is linked beyond the fact that each character appears in 2 scenes, after all). So the only way to make a real story - or a book - out of it would be to use it for your own inspiration. Which isn't the same as stealing. It would make a heck of a cool reservoir for inspiration. It just wouldn't be a novel because it's not continuous - it can't be unless you doctored every scene to make events link (but then now we're running into basically fan fiction - taking someone's original idea and premise and continuing it yourself).

    I hope I make sense? :D
     
  18. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    The more I think of it, the more my idea sounds like the movie Crash, except it ends up looping around to the same people from a scene earlier in the movie but with the circumstances switched. This would be highly unlikely to work in the idea I have unless it was planned out ahead of time.
     

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