Story Relay: Writing Alone Together

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We all love stories — from the classic bedtime fairy tale to juicy/scary ones told in front of a camp fire. And we’re bringing this love for stories here on Project Chiron. Only this time, we’d like you to help us.

While the notion of writing as a solitary activity is more popular, writing in groups or collaborative writing has been around for a while. As far back as ancient Japan, poets would take turns writing the lines of a poem of linked verses called renga. In recent times, Dadaists and Surrealists also dabbled in collaborative games such as the exquisite corpse and the chain story. Closer to home, Filipino writers now also practice group writing games, informally called dugtungan, which are patterned after renga.

Project Chiron’s Story Relay is a writing game that draws from this tradition. But unlike the renga poets, the Dadaists, and the Surrealists who saw each other in the flesh, Story Relay writers are faced with the paradox of our age, their physical solitude in front of the monitor and at the same time equally real presence in a vibrant, noisy virtual community. This is the context, and this is Story Relay. Let’s start writing alone together.

The Rules

Story Relays are collaborative story writing exercises that we do on our Facebook Page. Like its predecessors, Story Relay will have contributors taking turns in writing a story. Constraints may vary to keep the game novel and challenging, but the facet of taking turns will remain. Every month, we will be opening a story writing exercise — a game of adding to the story or, yes, a story relay. We will write the first few lines as a status post then you can add to the story through comments until the story reaches a logical conclusion. One of our editors will lead as master of the game and will moderate the contributions.

Community Agreement

Participating in Story Relay is done freely in a spirit of camaraderie and support for other writers. Thus, as a member of this community, collaborating writers agree without reservation on the following:

  • No passing off someone else’s work as your own
  • No charging of fees for posts
  • No using the relay for libel, defamation and other illegal activities
  • No using of vulgar and/or insulting language directed against Story Relay masters and participating writers

Take-Down Power

For the purpose of protecting Story Relay and participating writers, Project Chiron reserves the right to take down contributions that violate copyright, as well as those that show obvious trolling or bullying, pornographic content, and slurs against gender, race, human dignity, and belief.

What’s in it for you?

Contributors can look forward to sharpening their skills in composing imagery, creating characters, establishing mood and driving the plot. Since many writers have creative control over the story, creativity — and maybe even a generous sprinkle of absurdity — is to be expected. There is also room for the profound as the emphasis on process over product is itself a confrontation with meaning-making; an allusion to the plurality of modern life, to the cacophony of multiple voices carving out narratives of self in social media. But take out all the highbrow and you will find that Story Relay in essence is really about celebrating the act of writing.

 

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