I've been toying with a little writing experiment that would involve contributions from my readers and I'm curious to see if there's any support for this. Back in school, did any of you ever do a "round robin" writing exercise? The way it works is that one person starts writing a story, and then hands it off to the next person in their group after a predetermined limit is met (either a paragraph, a page or a chapter.) Then that person picks up and sends the story in whatever direction they like before passing it on to the next person. Collaborative
My idea is to try something like this with a screenplay. I'd write the first ten pages, doing my best to toss enough balls in the air that the following writers would have plenty of material to work with. Then, each writer after me would pick up, adding ten pages to the total and advancing the story as appropriate. There'd be no master plan, no treatment, no previously agreed-upon plot. This would work best if each writer tried their best to work within a three-act structure and be mindful of how the story usually "needs" to advance at the point they're dealing with within the three-act structure.
Aside from that, there'll also be a "non-denial" rule in place. This is common in improv. What it means is that you can't deliberately contradict something that's been put into play. In improv, if a character says, "Boy, life is great here on the moon," another character cannot say, "You're wrong, this is Alabama." Also, there will be no revisions allowed to previous pages. Each writer is bound by what has come before.
Ideally, I'd have at least eight people willing to participate, and each writer would have a week to turn in their ten pages. If I get a lot more than eight, then I might start two groups going at the same time with the initial ten pages. If so, that could lead to some interesting results, as we'd see how two groups starting with the same initial premise could end up with completely different results by the end.
If the results are interesting enough, perhaps we'll even toss the script up on a peer review site that's unaware of the screenplay's lineage. It'll be an interesting experiment in seeing if those reviewers detect any odd blips in story construction and characterization.
If you're interested in being a writer in this little game, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell me a little bit about yourself and the movies you like too. If we have more than one group going, I might try to mix up the writer's roster a bit.
3 days ago