Wednesday, July 25, 2012
"Weird Crap"...A Chain Story
One thing I do occasionally in the classroom is chain writing, which asks different writers to write different sentences, or paragraphs, one after another. There are variations to the activity, like, for example, doing it blind, which means everyone has a number on one side of the paper, and then they write the sentence or paragraph on the other side. After all the sentences/paragraphs have been written, you use the numbers to put everything together (it's "blind" because you write your part without knowing anything else that has been written). It's a cool activity, and the students usually enjoy it.
So that explains what a chain story is. Now let me explain the "weird crap" part.
A while back, a critique partner of mine read something I had written, and he commented that it seemed like I was writing what someone else wanted me to write, not what I enjoyed writing, and not what I was "great" at. He commented, "You do well with high-concept MG, and you're great writing about weird crap. So why this?" I laughed out loud, because I knew the dude was right. Not only was the project a forced pile of dung, but he was also right because the crap I write is rather weird, and I have fun with that sort of thing.
So here is what I want to do. Let's take the weird crap idea and throw it in a bowl with the chain story process, and then let's flush it all out and see what we get. In other words, let's write a chain story...and hope it doesn't end up falling in line with the aforementioned metaphor. I'll start the story below, and volunteer writers (you) will continue the story in the comments section. Here's the process.
1) Read the opening below to get a feel for tone, POV, characters, etc.
2) Where I left off, comment number 1 will write the next paragraph in the story.
3) The next comment will include the paragraph after that.
4) Next comment, next paragraph.
5) When I see that the chain story has gone as far as it will go (no more paragraphs/comments for a couple days) I will combine everything and post the final product at a later date.
You game? Come on, let's have some fun.
"Weird Crap" OPENING
Spill Joseph had always thought of himself as a stand-up kinda guy. A good friend. A pal. A dude. A bro. That’s how he saw himself, even after he’d been forced to tell his parents who had tied Kitt’s tail to the ceiling fan and flicked the “super speed” switch. Nick Gname, for the record, had done the tail tying and cat hanging. Sam Chowder, the switch flicking. As he had explained to his parents, Spill had just been “…in the room, like, coincidentally. You know, just hangin’ out. Chillin’. That kinda thing.”
It wasn’t until Oracle, his pet parrot, started chanting, “Rat! Ahhh! Rat! Ahhh! Rat! Ahhh!” that Spill realized what he’d done. That’s when reality hit Spill like a three-hundred-pound linebacker.
The reality was, when he went to school the next day and all his classmates, including Nick and Sam, knew he’d ratted out his two best friends, well, that’s when the Kitt was gonna hit the fan. Again.
To be continued...by you!
Okay, go at it. New comment, new paragraph.