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    • CommentAuthorJiveKitty
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2010
     (8613.1)
    I hope this is in the correct category! Apologies, if it's not.

    Both my friend and I would like to start writing fiction again, but we lack impetus. To provide this impetus, I came up with the idea of setting up a tumblr account where we solicit for certain things, for example, style, genre, topic, two character names, occupation/s, type of conclusion etc, and then she and I write and post a story each based upon the best combination of suggestions. Basically, this would provide constraints for the story and deadlines (I believe the intent is for one story each per week), and give access to constructive criticism.

    The question here is: which categories (constraints) would be most useful to solicit for?
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      CommentAuthorNygaard
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2010
     (8613.2)
    The focus is on gaming, but still looks useful for other stuff - Robin D. Laws is releasing a book called Hamlet's Hit Points in August. He's been discussing some of the ideas in it on his blog, with "information beats" being the thing that's snagged my attention. Analysing the pacing in a story in terms of "down beats", "up beats" etc. looks very interesting. Could you set up a beat pattern in advance, and then write two different stories with the same pattern?
    • CommentAuthorJiveKitty
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2010
     (8613.3)
    Hmm, possibly. I'd have to look into that more. Pacing hasn't been a problem so much for me as idea constraints (also dialogue!). Not sure about my friend. I was thinking more in terms of what you might see on an improv show, where they're given some kind of general set up as constraints and have to make it funny. Was wondering more along those lines as to what would be useful (theme, setting, character attributes, maybe even a necessary line of dialogue to work in, etc), but pacing could actually be quite interesting to try and work in. Will definitely give it consideration. Thanks!
  1.  (8613.4)
    Well, last year on twitter in July and August I solicited for one line prompts from people who followed me on. I'd then write flash fiction based on those one-line ideas or phrases. There were no real restrictions at my end apart from the restriction that the story had to be of flash fiction length. It was cool, very liberating, and I'd like to think that I produced some cool stuff from that time.

    The same general idea is followed in the writing workshop I run. A prompt is delivered to the group by me and everybody free-writes material based on that for just shy of half an hour. This works quite well, mostly, and there's usually a large variance in how the prompts are interpreted simple because everybody is different.

    I think you are going to want to look at keeping the stories produced short and at about six-hundred words on average. Maybe even shorter. Short time restrictions are interesting, if the intent is to produce disposable material, but I think you'll find it better to just impose a general response time of a day or two for each prompt if that's how you are going to work it.
  2.  (8613.5)
    @jive kitty: have you both considered taking part in a round robin?
    • CommentAuthorJiveKitty
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2010 edited
     (8613.6)
    Cheers, Ginja. It's definitely something to consider - if we want to go for short prompts instead of straight constraints. You think the prompt of a sentence would be better than the prompt of a few categories?

    @Mister Andersen: A round robin?
  3.  (8613.7)
    I think a prompt sentence per story would be better approach, yes. It appears more limiting than a category but a good sentence should provide a selection of ideas that expand off from the prompt rather than restrict you to one single obvious idea. A category can be rather broad and often that requires more effort and thought to construct a simple story from, which for this project is not what you want. It sounds like you want to be writing fiction and not spending your time thinking of ideas for fiction.

    I believe that Mister Andersen is suggesting that you write a section of the story before passing it to your partner who then writes another section, and then going back and forth until you've finished the story.

    Also it might be worth having a go at the writing game exquisite corpse*. It is an game I've used to get groups of people primed for writing before that works well.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exquisite_corpse
    • CommentAuthorJiveKitty
    • CommentTimeJul 27th 2010
     (8613.8)
    Cheers, my friend is leaning towards the prompt for the reasons you've detailed, so I think we'll see how that serves us.

    @Mister Andersen: If the exquisite corpse is what you were suggesting, I may have to give that a go at some stage. It sounds like it could be quite interesting.

    Thank you all for your contributions thus far. It has definitely provided food for thought.
    • CommentAuthorJiveKitty
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2010
     (8613.9)
    My friend got around to putting the comment option up, so it is go at: http://lemur-colony.tumblr.com/ if anybody wants to offer starters.