Tag! You’re it…

photo: Thinkstock

I had a thought a while back about working up an interactive writing exercise that might be fun. My idea is to build a collaborative story one sentence at a time—a writers’ game of tag or a literary relay race. I’m sure there must be some sort of children’s game that exists along these lines where a group of kids sitting around a campfire take turns adding details to a story. I want to do the same sort of thing here, so pull up a log.

Here are my rules:

1. I’ll start things off with a single sentence and someone else will need to post a follow on sentence that builds on the previous sentence(s).

2. You can add as many sentences as you want throughout the story but you are not allowed to post two or more sentences in a row. You must wait until someone else has posted a new one so keep checking back.

3. Each post is limited to one sentence, but there is no word limit as long as it is a proper sentence. If you are beginning a new paragraph put the following at the start of your sentence:  [P]

4. Mature content and language is allowed (within reason).

5. Avoid hurtful or hateful content. Anything inappropriate will be removed.

6. The thread will continue until there is a logical conclusion at which point I’ll post: “THE END — Begin a new story.” You are then invited to provide a new kickoff sentence to start the game all over again.

7. Reserve non-story comments until after the conclusion of each story so the flow of the narrative isn’t interrupted.

8. This will only work if you participate.  Don’t be shy, it’s only a sentence and no one is going to criticize.  Let’s see what twists and turns we get. Feel free to switch things up or shift the genres. For instance if you aren’t a sci-fi fan or a romance devotee, you have the power to take the story in another direction.  Above all have fun with it.

I’ve heard that if you fill a room with monkeys and typewriters, eventually you will get Shakespeare.  Let’s see what this virtual sandbox of primates can accomplish.

Here’s the Kickoff:

Garret Pinkus had been teased his entire childhood, and as an adult he was practically invisible but that was all about to change.


38 comments on “Tag! You’re it…

  1. Here’s the first sentence again:

    Garret Pinkus had been teased his entire childhood, and as an adult he was practically invisible but that was all about to change.

  2. He adjusted the scope of his Stoner SR-25 sniper rifle to focus on the performer just as she stepped out onto the outdoor stage.

  3. The microphone squealed with feedback as he watched Sadie Hawkins step up and say, “What a great day to be alive.”

  4. He laughed ‘not for long bitch, today you get your payback.’

  5. “Who are you talking to Mister?” six year old Stephanie Campbell said to Pinkus on top of the apartment roof where she often played, unbeknownst to her mother who thought Steph was in her room.

  6. Garret turned towards the girl as his vision of Sadie’s head snapping sharply backward showering the drum kit with gray matter quickly evaporated from his mind’s eye, it was all beginning to unravel.

  7. He conjured up a smile for the little girl as the vision cleared and asked her in a low voice, “Do you always talk to strangers?”

  8. She shrugged and replied, “You’re not that strange, except for the talking-to-yourself part and your really big gun.”

  9. “Why are all those people down there pointing at me, Mister?” Stephanie said from the edge of the roof.

  10. Improvise, he told himself and scooped the girl up in his arms yelling down to the crowd, “She’s okay, I’ve got her!” and thought he might get away with this until two beefy cops burst through the roof access door and noticed the rifle at his feet.

  11. “You guys leave Mister alone!” Stephanie yelled as she reached down for the gun.

  12. The strap tangled with Garret’s feet as she yanked the rifle from the roof deck causing him to stumble backwards against the foot-high perimeter ledge, arms pinwheeling briefly before he finally toppled out of view to a collective gasp from the crowd below.

  13. [P] “No I.D. , another John Doe,” the coroner said as he pulled the sheet over Garret’s head leaving him practically invisible.

  14. I think that turned out pretty well. Steve, I love the last sentence. Brilliant. Let me know what you thought of this exercise. I was hoping for more participation so I’m not sure how popular this idea was. Would you play along if I did it again later on down the road?

  15. Sointenly! But not for the next two weeks. You’ll know where I’ll be. Aloha.

  16. That was pretty cool! …can’t believe I missed the first one though, been meaning to drop in and participate but kept doing other stuff first 😦 dammit!
    Maybe you should start a separate post for a new story or something? Or are you planning on running this here as-is?
    OR, maybe if you post the compilation of the story you’ve just finished and the next one can start in the comments of that one 😀
    Anyway, barring no other thoughts from anyone on the matter, I’ll put forward a sentence to start a new story and you can let me know if you want it picked up from hereon.


    Hargrave violently shook his head as he tried to pull back his own thoughts from the background where the paranoia demon had shoved them, trying to fill his head with her devious whispers and malignant ideas.

    • His head swiveled left and right in the purple gloom as he managed to slide the key into it’s matching slot working with a tremor in the hands, expecting to be descended upon by pipe wielding ruffians in black garb, despite this being his own home.

  18. And of course it had to be his luck that the lock was an enchanted childs toy, bright neon colours and annoying to handle – he’d had to control his temper to keep from frustratedly breaking any of them, but with a hard shove was half-falling onto his front lawn before landing face first onto the grass.

  19. Wiping freshly mown grass from his chin where he lay within the mocking gaze of the plastic, yard-flamingo, Hargrave was convinced he saw the pink bird’s head move.

  20. And then a rustling behind him made him turn sharply to look, only to find his collection of nearly a dozen garden gnomes sitting innocently – but they were no longer where he remembered placing them…

    • But they now had a splash of menace about them—someone had re-painted them in pond slime green and gothic black, and they were wielding sharp garden implements such as hedge shears and digging forks.

  21. Reblogged this on Anansi's Web – The Pub at the corner of "No" & "Where" and commented:
    Hey Folks!!
    Okay, anyone interested in being part of a bloody easy writing experiment, join me on this one.
    ahblack57 started this line-by-line story where you can add one line at a time to carry on the story and if you want to contribute (the more the merrier!), click through to the original post and add in your line to the ongoing story in the comment section!

  22. Then, as the calm moment seemed to stretch for an eternity, the storm hit as the demonic decoratives sprang to bloodthirsty life and Hargrave had but moments to defend himself before he was landscaped to death.

    • He could feel the jabs and prods of tiny spades and hoes and shovels digging at his flesh, and then, in a quick flash, Hargrave was standing with his hand upon that neon-colored child’s toy of a lock; his paranoid episode briefly subdued.

  23. He felt a gentle humming, a vibration travel from the lock up his arms and over him to calm him down – but it didn’t last long as the assault seemed to have stopped but from behind him the now eerie tinkling of the ice-cream truck made him turn and look as it pulled up to the curb and imagine his shock when the back opened up to reveal his dead girl-friend who then proceeded to mow the decoratives down with her chain-gun before putting her hand out to him and shouted, “Come with me if you want to live!”

    • Hargrave was between a rock and a hard place —smack dab in the middle of a multiplying army of malicious garden gnomes that was advancing with razor sharp implements of destruction and an un-dead, machine gun toting girlfriend (their relationship had ended years ago on a decidedly sour note) standing in the back of a rusting and faded relic of his childhood—and against better judgement took refuge with his zombie ex who was ripping off another staccato volley of gun fire.

  24. Ducking under the deadly lead-shower and running like his life depended on it (and it did), he reached the already in-motion ice-cream truck and dove into the open service window and hit the freezer inside shoulder hard as the truck immediately began burning rubber – the last thing he remembered before passing out being the sight of his (ex) girl-friend laughing like a banshee as she tossed a grenade out the window and the tinkling sounds of “pop goes the weasel”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: