Clapboard is starting an experimental project, or a projecty experiment, and of course we turn to your creative brilliance in our time of need.
We want to write a great work of fiction. But we can’t do it alone. Hell, we can’t do it at all. So we want you to do it for us.
The executive summary, the abstract, the in-a-nutshell:
We will start a story and pass it around to all our friends. Each person will write a section with only a very limited idea of what precedes their immediate chunk of narrative. When everyone who is interested has written something, we will cobble it together and unveil it to the world. Then we will laugh. Or cry. Depending.
The full report, the unabridged document, the outside-a-nutshell: We (that is the royal “we” by the way) will collect the email addresses of everyone who is interested in writing a section of the story. The order in which you write will be determined by the order in which we receive an email from you letting us know youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re interested. We can’t say how long you’ll have to wait for your turn, because it depends on how many people want to do it and how long they take to write their sections (but never fear, there are guidelines).
When your turn comes, you will receive an email that contains none of the story save the tail end of the previous person’s contribution. This will be your starting point, and from the moment that email lands in your inbox, you will have 48 hours to crank out your own addition to the story and mail it back to us.
Of course, with no restrictions at all, this would turn out to be some kind of study in prose dadaism. It may become that anyway. But in an effort to provide a little continuity, we are going to lay down some ground rules both for the story and the process.
-There are two characters that have to be present somehow in your chunk of story. One is Rachel, a 25-year-old woman, and the other is Kimchee, a pet African Gray parrot (http://www.african-gray-parrots.com/african-gray-parrots-links.htm) that is usually in her company. Please do not kill either of these characters, unless you happen to get the last section of story (we’ll let you know), in which case you can do whatever you want.
-Make some effort to respect whatever information you get from the previous person’s section of story. Feel free to take it in a new direction, just don’t flat out contradict what they’ve just said. (Refer to the “yes, and…” principle of improv comedy here if you don’t see why this is important).
-Aside from these restrictions, anything goes as far as plot development, characters, setting and style. The world is your proverbial oyster.
-The amount of a story section that will be forwarded to the next writer is at the editor’s discretion. Don’t worry, we won’t give you something totally useless.
-The maximum word length for your section is 200. This does not include whatever words you have from the previous section.
-You will have 48 hours to respond once we send you an email saying that it’s your turn. If for some reason you can’t write your section in this time frame but still want to be included, drop us a quick email and we’ll tack you on to the end of the list. If you don’t respond in 48 hours we skip you for good.
-This whole thing could take a while, which will get boring if you’re spending your days staring out the window, dreaming of a chance to write. With this in mind we will provide regular updates at http://clapboard.org so you can track the project’s progress.
-Once the story is done, it will be unveiled on Clapboard for all to admire. If this experiment is actually successful, there will definitely be another round.
This is the official kickoff. The story itself will start making its rounds in the next couple of days, as soon as we get a few takers. We may suspend production for Thanksgiving, but if so, things will resume Monday, December 2. You can email us any time during the process with questions, misgivings, diatribes, or withering comments.Interested?
Aw come on, we know you are! Be a part of something that will likely be great and terrible in equal measures. This might even be your chance to enter the annals of internet legend!Send an email to ### from the address at which you want to receive your correspondence and we’ll hook you up.