Ben Langhinrichs

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March, 2008
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Fri 14 Mar 2008, 03:09 PM
Torso of gruesome facesSince there seem to be a number of writers in our midst, I decided to try a little experiment, and suggested a "And then the boiler burst..." round robin story amongst some bloggers I know.  I asked a few people, who may have already asked a few more.  The rules are simple:Gather your wits, sharpen your pens: "Web of Deception" starts Monday

1) One person writes a chapter (short, long, whatever), possibly leaving the story with a cliff hanger, but not necessarily.

2) At the end of the chapter, or in the middle I suppose, if you like, he or she stops writing, and says "Story continued by " and names one of the people who has not yet written.  (It would also be courteous to let that person know by phone or e-mail.)  Once that second person writes a chapter, it is imperative that the first person makes a link to it so later people can follow the story.

3) Never take up a chapter unless you have been named.  We don't want competing universes.

4) Generally, there are no other rules.  At best, there are a few general guidelines:

4a)  You probably should not kill off other people's characters unless the story compels it.

4b) Try to incorporate the story as it has developed rather than striking out completely on your own, but that doesn't mean you can't make it go a very different direction, or "reveal" facts that were previously ambiguous (or you choose to treat as ambiguous)

4c) It is considered perfectly acceptable to leave the next writer in a bind trying to resolve difficult to resolve situations.

4d) Bad puns may or may not be acceptable to the critics, but I can't resist them, so don't feel you must either.  Likewise, geek humor and steamy scenes filled with innuendo.  Write what you like - let the readers decide if it is appropriate for the office or not.

4e) The current writer may suggest one word, such as the word "barnacle", which should appear in the next chapter

4f) Have fun.

If you would like to participate, you can respond here or e-mail me.  Don't be shy or worry about whether your writing is "as good" as anybody else's, but also don't volunteer if this is going to give you hives and make you miss your upcoming nuptials or ILUG or anything really important.

For the first chapter, I currently have no plot, no characters and no chosen genre, but I do have a title.  It will be called "Web of Deception", and the first chapter will be out sometime Monday.  So far, the brave volunteers for this are:

Tom "Duffbert" Duff (whose participation should ensure he doesn't review it)
Rob McDonagh (whose Goofing Around post inspired this)
Julian Robichaux (who is just so damn enthusiastic it makes it all worth it)
John Vaughan (who made me think of this the first time, a long time ago)
Francie Whitlock (who suggested guideline 4e)
Gabriella Davis (who reads enough stories and needs to start telling more)
"Wild Bill" Buchan (because he said, "Hell yeah!", and that is really all it takes)
Steve McDonagh (who says he is waiting for his turn with "moist anticipation")
Andre Guirard (taking a short break from answering newbie questions on the Notes forums)
Jess Stratton (who might take kindly to being forgotten)
Libby "Notesgirl" Ingrassia (because the thesis is finally done - hurrah!)
Nathan Freeman (as an indication that we really have no standards at all)
Chris Miller (hell, we let Nathan in)

Other names have been suggested, but feel free to suggest yourself.  If you don't have a blog, ask one of us to host your story.

Update:   Due to overwhelming interest, any new volunteers will have to participate in the next story cycle.  Thanks!

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