Contacting Rosemary

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Collaborative writing experiments in Cobalt City

I tried something a little different last Saturday: a real-time collaborative writing adventure. Five authors, all hooked through Google Docs, whacking at the same story at the same time.

It reminded me of theatrical improv. In this case, somebody tossed out a line like "Can I have a holographic dragon?" and somebody else responded by suddenly making that dragon appear (in words....no actual dragons or holograms were harmed during this morning exercise).

To keep the chaos controlled, there was a ringmaster who set up some basic plot points and asked people to hit them from specific character perspectives. I found myself gravitating towards transitions: as others set up individual scenes, I popped into the beginnings and end to create hooks into the next piece of action.

When we talk about shared world writing, we don't mean this type of sharing. But like improv theater, it was a nice mind-stretching exercise that left me considering ways to wrestle a multitude of characters through a plethora of plot points. Ways that included transitions, serial commas, and, perhaps, a holographic dragon.

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