Two of my classmates and I did an interesting exercise today – we wrote a story together. Sort of.
I’ve written stories with another writer before. Well, a story, if you want to get technical. However, Mandy’s and I’s approach to creative collaboration has always been distinctly collaborative. We use google docs to, quite literally, write together. I write one character, Mandy writes another, and we role play out our scenes, making them up as we go along. Later, we divide the scenes into sections and one of us converts our script into prose form.
Today’s exercise was a little different. Two other students and I sat down in a circle. We each pulled out a single piece of paper and began writing. Every 10 minutes we swapped papers until, eventually, our stories came back to us. We were then given 10 minutes to finish the stories that we, and our peers, had created.
In two words, this approach was follows: entertaining and just plain bizarre.
I liked this exercise, I really did. It was fun to see how my classmates interpreted my writing and entertaining to interweave their ideas with my own. But at the same time, the experience was, well, odd. It seemed strange to have so little control have the storyline and the clash between our writing styles made for an, um, interesting read. While I enjoyed the sheer novelty of this exercise, I’m glad those stories won’t be submitted for grading anytime soon.
For low-stakes, short writing assignments, I would definitely use this method again. But for higher stakes projects, I think I’ll be sticking to the role play method.