Any past Tips & Prompts can be found on my website: Writing Tips & Prompts.
Writing Prompt #2 - Chain Stories
So, what's a chain story? A chain story is when two or more people get together and go back and forth, adding bits to a story. Each person could write one sentence, one paragraph, or even one page (or more, if people are so inclined to attempt a chain novel).
This isn't to be confused with collaboration, though. Collaborating with another writer on a story or a novel is something that takes a lot more thought and planning. Chain stories take no planning at all! They are very in the moment.
Why write something that is so unplanned and spontaneous?
First, getting together with a group of friends and seeing how a story unfolds when you have to continue from the previous person's addition is just plain fun. Heck, if you have a bunch of writers at a party, it might actually be a great game to play. Most of the chain stories I participate in tend to end up humorous--it makes the stories more fun and off the wall. Lots of laughs all around.
Second, it teaches you how to think (er...write) on your feet. You need the story to still make sense from one entry to the next, and you have no clue what the person before you is going to write until she writes it. This pressure to come up with something on the spot is even harder if you time each person's turn. If you're doing it via e-mail, you can say, allow a day between each response, even less if you're writing the story in a chat or if everyone is together in the same room!
Third, it can get the writing juices flowing. If you're having some issues with Writer's Lack of Motivation (or Writer's Block, but I don't believe in that now, nope, no such thing) writing chain stories with others could just be enough of a push to make your fingers itch to work on your own writing. Like stretching before a run--it gets the blood flowing.
Don't be shy to ask some friends to join in writing a chain story with you. You may even come away with new ideas for your current or a future work in progress.
Now, after this prompt, I thought it would be nice to start a small chain story here. The rules for this one are as follows:
- Each person writes one sentence, taking all sentences that came before into account.
- Post your sentence in the comment section - you can add another new sentence after someone else posts after you. No limit to how many times you can add to the story.
- Don't be afraid to be silly (and don't worry too much about grammar and spelling)!
OK, without further adieu, here is the first sentence:
Luca swirled the water of the pond with his finger, then yanked it back when something nipped at him.
NEXT UP: Chris Stout will be guest blogging!
Since he was a child Luca knew that there were only two things that could nip at your finger when you swirled it in a pond: little fish or little mermaids.ReplyDelete
Little fish carried diseases in their nasty teeth, but little mermaids carried magic, a preferable venom that could change your life in unknowable ways.ReplyDelete
The stinging, burning sensation made his heart burst with relief--a mermaid.ReplyDelete
The pond in front of him started to grow very large--no wait, Luca was growing smaller!ReplyDelete
He saw the grass at the edge of the sparkling pond grow larger, until he could use a narrow blade of grass as a lawn chair.ReplyDelete
Slipping down the blade of grass, as if it were a water slide, Luca fell into the pond, only to be greeted by a lovely mermaid.ReplyDelete
"Let me intoduce you the wonders of this pond and all my friends," she whispered into his ear and with that took his hand.ReplyDelete
"But wait," the turquoise beauty said. Pulling Luca forward...stopping inches in front of his lips. "I must kiss you so you can breathe underwater."ReplyDelete
Luca jerked back right before his lips touched hers, remembering a fearful tale his grandmother told him about the kiss of a mermaid.ReplyDelete
(An aside: I love seeing everyone's additions! Chain stories always make me smile. Thanks for adding.)
The mermaid noticed his reticence, and said, "Oh, come on, then. You're already too small to go back home."ReplyDelete
Still fearful, yet spellbound, his gaze moved from her inviting full lips to her large expressive blue-green eyes and he asked, "Do you have a name?"ReplyDelete
"Not one that you could pronounce, so choose one for me," she said.ReplyDelete
"I shall call you Naida," said Luca, "for you are a water nymph and you have tempted me from my home."ReplyDelete
Luca's hand started to tingle as she smiled and touched the tip of her first finger to his.ReplyDelete
But a poisonous green stain coursed beneath the skin, up the digit to his tiny palm, where it radiated outward, through his wrist and along his forearm.ReplyDelete
Then his whole body shook; he tremorred and flopped much like a fish yanked out of the water and slapped on a pier, probably because he had transformed into a tiny sunfish.ReplyDelete
"Now you'll have to kiss me in order to turn back into a human," Naida said, offering her pouty lips.ReplyDelete
Which was worse--the fearful tale of his grandmother, warning that any male who kissed a mermaid was doomed to unrequited love for her through eternity, or staying a tiny sunfish for the rest of his natural or otherwise existence?ReplyDelete
So, his choice was a life of spawning circles with sunfish in the shallows of the pond or kissing a beautiful mermaid and yearning for her charms throughout eternity. Luca planted a big fish kiss on her soft lips.ReplyDelete
(Aside: Make sure to keep it to 1 sentence! I see 2 sentences above - lol.)ReplyDelete
Colors cascaded before Luca's eyes, and he felt his body twitch again, but it didn't feel like he shifted back into his own form.
Instead of his own form, Luca found he had become a Viking, captaining a large ship with a giant mermaid atop its bow.ReplyDelete
Luca was just thinking that this was perfect -- now he could just sail right home -- when a fat hand grabbed his neck and he felt the point of a blade against his back.ReplyDelete
(Aside: Let's try to wrap this up! Who will write the sentence that signifies the end?)ReplyDelete
The mermaid at the prow of the ship turned her head and winked at Luca.
She spread her wooden arms like wings to port and starboard, and the ship shuddered beneath Luca's feet as magic spread from fore to aft.ReplyDelete
Only then did he feel the sharp edge of the knife slice through his heart.ReplyDelete
(Aside: Here comes the end! I decided to be kind for once and not have a gruesome one - heh.)ReplyDelete
The world faded from view, then Luca fluttered his eyes and woke to find himself resting next to the still waters of the pond.
That was fun! Let's do it again!ReplyDelete