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Idea for a writing club!





IceCreamTruck
I've had this idea for a while to start a writing club where everyone is working on their own short story or novel, but after having agreed to a basic set of rules that set up the world in which all of their books take place.

Conversations in the beginning would be to set up this world so that everyone understands the rules and can begin creating their story, and subsequent meetings or conversations would revolve around introducing the group to different characters you are creating in your story so they might be shared across several of the writer's stories to bind the novels and short stories together in what will eventually be a series of books by different authors that are related to one another, and may even follow the same characters at different points of their lives where time lines could span multiple books.

We'd also keep up to date on each other's progress so we can continue to work out little details and make sure characters who die at a certain point don't end up back in another person's story that takes place several years after the death of said character.

What do you guys think? Is this something that is interesting to any writers out there? I'm thinking fantasy writing where we create the whole world, but the parts of that world are brought to life in the details of different books and stories about the same world.

PS. If interested I want everyone working in something like shared documents on google, so that everyone would have access to everyone else's current work, and we'd have a place to outline the rules of the world, characters with brief biographies for sharing around the stories, and any other documents could be kept there to support the idea.
Radar
What you're basically talking about is a series of books written by different authors, set in the same world, but with the ground framework laid out from the beginning in such a way that there's no need for any kind of overall control, since they're all separate but joined by the one context?

Interesting. I'm not quite sure how you'd still get the unified and connected feel, while letting everyone do what they want.
Ankhanu
This is a pretty neat idea. Radar brings up a good point about continuity and cohesion issues that would have to be addressed to make it work, but, ultimately, it sounds like something that could work pretty well (with proper organization).

For something like this to work, yeah, you'd need some solid organization of ideas following the brainstorming events. Outline the general concepts of the setting, major historical events that would shape the setting, its politics and the events of the characters' lives… and if there were to be common characters throughout, at least a rough timeline sketch of the important aspects of their lives would need to be laid out in order to maintain a consistent flow of experience from author to author.
In a large enough setting, there could be a LOT of creative freedom… for example, look at the Forgotten Realms setting. Its a fairly large setting with a lot of different authors working within its framework. As long as they're operating locally and not making events TOO big, there's a lot of leeway in what can happen to characters… plus there are large setting or region wide events that impact multiple authors' works. That sort of wide and narrow scope seems like it might be the sort of thing that could work here.

I'd say this has a lot of promise. Getting the basic premises laid out will take some judgment calls on the various ideas that will come forward, but the work would be worth it.

Fantasy is probably the best genre to work with, though sci-fi (being very closely related) also works well. Speculative fiction, steampunk and the like could also work, but I think you were probably right on the money with fantasy for max flexibility.
IceCreamTruck
Ankhanu wrote:
...major historical events that would shape the setting, its politics and the events of the characters' lives… and if there were to be common characters throughout, at least a rough timeline sketch of the important aspects of their lives would need to be laid out in order to maintain a consistent flow of experience from author to author.


Ankhanu, you are right on track here, and welcome on board if you like to write yourself, but you must behave yourself here! Smile No inflammatory comments, please.... lol Actually you added to the discussion here very well -- specifically "major historical events" needs to be talked about a lot, but hadn't even been brought up yet, and I thank you.

It might be needed to right a short history of the world in order to get everyone on the same page.

What is steampunk?
Ankhanu
Thanks. I am opinionated and relatively blunt, but I'm not a complete jerk Wink

I think this could be a lot of fun, but, at the same time, I've never finished a writing project like this that I've begun. I always get busy and distracted with other things and it end up left behind... I also have no illusions considering my skill as a writer. Initially I was thinking I'd throw my hat in, but by the time I finished writing my last post, I think I talked myself out of it... but I'll continue to consider.

A short basic history of the setting would be ideal to bring into the first "meeting of the minds" to get everyone on the same page in terms of getting the imagination flowing. From there, directed, effective brainstorming and creation can get under way.

Steampunk is a subgenre that's kind of a mix of sci-fi, fantasy and historical fiction. It's usually set with a somewhat Victorian era society (but not always) and fashion sense, but incorporates ideas of high technology and mysticism, but the technology is limited to steam era levels. So, for example, there may be computers, but they're mechanistic, involving levers, chains, perhaps steam power, etc, and are fairly big... wood and brass are popular building materials Razz
Here's the wiki article explaining it - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk

An artist began a series envisioning the Star Wars setting in steampunk that I kind of enjoyed a while back, you might get a kick out of his renditions - http://ericpoulton.blogspot.com/search/label/steampunk%20star%20wars
IceCreamTruck
You are welcome to join the discussion even if you don't write your own book. You might just try writing a short story... maybe to explain an idea you've had for the history of the world.

I figure a lot of the initial writings will be like artifacts recovered in the world: an incomplete history much like our own that is pieced together from the writings of several people. These original writings don't even really have to have a start or a finish... they will set up the world though, so an attempt should be made to make them historically sound in the world, so the people in this world would have had a reason to hang on to that particular portion of their history.

Kind of like books of the old testament, or letters pulled together for the new testament in the modern Bible. Some of these are not complete stories, and they are fairly far apart in subject matter, but they were historically significant to the faith of the time, and so they were collected together.

I figure talks in the beginning will give ideas for creating these artifacts to build the history, and will give people things to work on that are separate from the story that they will add later. This will require a lot of forethought though, and people will have to communicate well with each other in order to build incomplete pictures that other authors can draw from even before it's completed. This is why I created the thread... to discuss if this kind of thing is even possible.

I want it to be fiction, and fanciful, but I want it told as if it's history from another time. I want the history told as if it happened to you and me, and I want the setting to be earth but never defined as such, so they will call earth by another name. This will keep the reader in the environment that they know. I want people to speculate that this could be the history of people who came before our current evolution of man. The word fiction has no place in the description of this completed work, except at the book store where it's sold. I want to help the reader build their illusion for complete immersion in this world.

I want it to inspire future writers to pick up where we left off. I want it to grow beyond the boundaries of what we imagine for it, and I'd like it to end up being considered one of the greatest fantasy worlds ever created. I want to help people keep imagination alive.

I think the book should be revealed as having been in private collections it's whole life to explain why it's 2011 and we're just now getting this information to the public. I think the book should predict things like "the second coming of man" on the earth, to support the idea that these humans came before we evolved here. I think it should be a combination of simple farming techniques, and almost magical technology, but I think we should stick to things that are mildly scientific if not completely possible today. Keeping clear of things like faster than light travel, instant communications over vast distances like solar system to solar system, and magical fireballs coming out of the wizard's staff. An energy weapon that shoots bolts of light from a staff would be acceptable though. A trip between solar systems taking years, and/or communications delay is good, and keeping things true to our current knowledge should be possible and encouraged. Exceptions can be made where we currently believe things to be possible but where we don't currently have the ability like fusion reactions. Assuming we've made break-throughs in energy creation and output is probably necessary, but we should be careful with what liberties we take as we'll end up paying for all of them later in the story -- it always happens to come up again later. Think of it like lying. Lying is bad, and should be avoided, but can't be avoided 100% of the time, so lie as little as possible to avoid lying to cover a lie, and so on and so forth.

World so far:
------------------------------
1) Eventual release of privately held historical documents explains the "why now" question

2) History tells of a time before the current evolution of man, and predicts our arrival and some of our future

3) Higher level of technology than current, but still within the realm of what we know now

4) No magic, however, abilities such as telepathy or telekinesis are ok, and encouraged to include on at least a mild level in all writings. I want there to be an assumption that they evolved further than we have so far.

5) I want the reader asking the question "What happened to them if they are not here now?" I figure it would be late in the story before anything like this is revealed. Possibly even wait till the second saga if one comes.

6) I want it to predict times for the reemergence of major threats from that time in the present, but those times have come and past with little word of these threats... the treat could be a competitive alien race who was fought off by the ancients but who we know, thanks to these historical documents, has withdrawn to the far side of our galaxy only to return. I want the reader to ask the question "Have they returned and taken over?" or "did we defeat them?" or even "did they return?" and "where are they now?". It could be a naturally awakening disease that we have to look forward to that might have been the end of the ancient race on earth.

other ideas coming... feel free to add, and we'll discuss
Fooky
[quote="IceCreamTruck"]I've had this idea for a while to start a writing club where everyone is working on their own short story or novel, but after having agreed to a basic set of rules that set up the world in which all of their books take place.
quote]

I started a similar, but less structured concept on my new blog known as Exquisite Corpse.

It's a game for writers. [BTW I didn't invent the Exquisite Corpse game.]

It's been up for less than a week. We have hundreds of visits, but no submissions. I think my writer friends are a little too shy.

It'll be interesting to see if people prefer structure vs. no structure.

I'll keep an eye on this thread and if you want me to, I'll promote your project on my blog etc.

Cheers!
F
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