Wednesday, September 16, 2009
The Joys of Writing Collaborative Speculative Fiction
A while back myself and four other intrepid writers started up an online horror story called The Event. The original starting point was deliberately vague – five writers follow five characters living in Wellington when some unexplained phenomenon occurred. It was a daunting but thrilling prospect for me. I was a little worried about how it would work out. I had limited experience in collaborative writing projects and generally, as far as my writing goes, I like to have things planned out well before I get started on my first draft. Writing without knowing where we would end up was scary stuff. There was no way I could map out where my character would go in advance. The other writers were constantly throwing new troubles and weirdness into the mix. There were no limits to the extent of destruction or the supernatural elements that could be brought in at any moment. For me, it was writing with the safety off. No plans, no resolution prepared, no guarantees of anyone or anything surviving unscathed. It has been immensely enjoyable and invigorating though. It’s good to develop writing routine and practices that work for you but there is something fantastic about throwing caution to the wind and trying something new with your writing. It also helped that I was working with a group talented writers who were hugely inspiring and coming up with such compelling stories. We’re coming towards the end now. Part Four is close to finished and then there will only be one more part for us all to end our stories. I’ll be sad when it’s finished but no doubt chomping at the bit to start another collaborative project.