Song of the Day: Overcome by Creed
Last week, Stacey mentioned in her post a mash-up experiment that she and I and two others participated in. Let me give you a recap, down low on the low down, the specifics of what we, The Usual Suspects, concocted.
Author #1 wrote the beginning of a story up to around 1000 words. He then sent his story to the next author, who in turn would pick up the tale where he left off and write another 1000 or so words. Then Author #2 would pass it along to Author #3, and so forth. After the last person finished their contribution, it went back to Author #1 for another round. When it was our turn again, we read the story thus far and added another chunk. The idea was to go several rounds and create a short story. There was no discussion of genre, plots, characters, or motivation. Imagine our surprise each time the story landed back in our laps, especially given that each one of us has our own unique voice, writing in different genres.
But the bigger surprise came when we finished. We had a great story! Sure, there were plot holes big enough for a convoy of beer-toting truckers to drive through and moments of mass confusion. (Where’d Clyde go? He was here a moment ago? Oh, he’s dead now? Really? How’d that happen? Oh wait, it was just a flesh wound? Yeah, someone should fix that.) But the bones were strong. We talked about the problems and how to fix them. We are currently editing in the same roundtable fashion, sweeping up any gruesome evidence of heinous writer-ly crimes.
Though it was an experiment, we didn’t treat it as such. We put thought and honed skills to task. The goal was to have a marketable finished product. One that will eventually be available for e-reading.
Participating in this co-written short story was fun. I didn’t feel the usual pressure I place on myself, despite the twinge of performance anxiety. I was the last author, Author #4, in the roundtable. By the time the story reached me, it obviously headed down the dark and scary path of suspense. I should’ve known this would happen. Stacey and the other Usual Suspects have a flair for writing thrillers and romantic suspense. But I write historical romance. Sure, I like to kill people. Sure, I like to throw in some spills and chills. However, these aspects are not the driving force behind my novels.
I surprised myself. I held my own against these thrill seeking pot boilers. I stepped out of my comfort zone, upped the ante, and managed to add tiers of tension. In the end, I was pleased with what I wrote. I learned that I can be flexible and push my boundaries into uncharted waters I have not been inclined to explore. What a great experience.
How about you? Have you tried your hand at a different genre? Ever plan to? Have you ever participated in a mash-up type story? I’d love to hear from you.