Early in 2016, the Tamale Hut Café Writers Group tried to write a group story. We proposed that after an opening chapter, in which a basic premise was devised, the story would be sent to a writer randomly picked from a list of volunteers. That writer would have two weeks to write the next chapter, of no more than roughly 2000 words, after which it would go to the next person chosen from the list. We had no guidelines outside of time and word count. We thought it would be a fun exercise.
It was indeed a fun exercise, and the story wandered in interesting and unexpected directions. Ultimately, though, that lack of guidelines was probably our downfall, because when we compiled all the chapters, we found that there were significant problems with the piece as a complete story. The writers of the last two chapters, Lynn and Steve, made a herculean effort to bring the meandering plot to a satisfying conclusion, but taken in total, the entire thing made for a confusing and disjointed read.
We had planned to distribute the finished story as an e-book for free here on our blog. In fact, Beth and Marianne got together to create the fine cover you see above. But after careful deliberation, we decided that it would not be worth the time and effort needed to edit the piece so that it would be a good representation of our storytelling ability. So it will remain just an exercise.
But as I said above, we had fun doing it, and we intend to do another story in a similar way in the future. Next time, though, we will take some of the lessons that we learned on this one and use them so that we can craft a story that we can be proud to share with friends and family and anyone else interested in what we’re doing in the Tamale Hut Café Writers Group.