The writing game

SUMMARY: A system for making a collaborative story. (No need to read this whole post)

Based on a similar post I made, this might work . . .

The goal of the thread is to create a short story. Maybe a long story IF it’s really successful.


(1) Serious posts only. You’ll have to decide what that means to you.

(2) You cannot make two posts in a row.

(3) Each post can take (a) an editorial action or (b) a passage, or (c) a directive, (d) a suggestion. This post has to be somewhat self-contained and whole. (Think: “In this post, I’m contributing one thing, not two”)

(4) Just like the rule in chess, you cannot play tug-of-war with moves. If three motions are seesawed (entry, then entry undone, then entry again by the same member) the third one stands and the same member can’t undo it. Again you’ll have to use your judgment as to wheather this is being done.

No one is moderating these rules so we’ll have to trust our collective adherence (“honour system”).

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about-

Example of a directive- You spend your post describing a scene of the story. How it begins, main things that happen, how it ends. Or you spend your post describing the nature of the story (eg: It’s about a dog that dies).

Example of a passage- You can use script format (Joe: (murmering) “I hate dogs.”) or use past tense (“I hate dogs” Joe murmered). Directives will later flesh out whether this is a script or a basic story.

Example of editorial- “I don’t like this Joe character, and not much has been written on him yet. So as an editorial I’m going to remove Joe from the story.”

Example of enforcing rule 4- Person A: “I make the character Joe as a directive” (next post) Person B: “I remove Joe as an editorial” (next post) Person A: “I like the Joe I created. I’m going to reinforce him and he stays.” (next post) Person B: “Well I’m not anxious to keep him, and I’m out of options to remove him so I suppose we can do something with him. How about this . . . and this . . . etc.”

Example of a suggestion- “I don’t really want to influence the story yet. I think we should make Joe a surgeon. Does anyone want to make that a directive?”

If this was a bad idea it’ll die without a response here. But you never know. I’ll clarify if anyone asks.

You can start right now in here. Think of this thread as a wiki-story.

The basic question to ask yourself is-

“Do I want to make a post about a directive- A set of statements that direct what the story is about? If so, what?”


“Do I want to make a post with a passage- Basic freeflow creative writing that will be woven into the story? If so, put the passage here.”


“Do I want to edit something that was already said? If so, specify what’s being edited and how.”


“Do I just want to suggest something to start with, not assuming any changes or creation to the story yet. If so, what?”

Then post with your answer to the question.

See if you can work with this.

The story is introduced in a person’s dream. He’s a bachelor sort of rebel-without-a-cause. We think it’s reality, until bizarre things happen. The reality is a representation of his real life, but the bizarre things are metaphores that we don’t really understand yet.

As things become odd, the dream pans back and the bachelor is narrating second person to a therapist. (A person appointed to him on his probation). He’s smoking a cigarrette explaining the dream, and finishes the session.

The story could sort of work like a debate between morality and nihilism- though there is no conclusion.

Example elements of nihilism- crime he does for thrills. People doing stupid things that shouldn’t phase him. Strip clubs. People making smalltalk in a bar while the news is rattling off bleak stories.

Example elements of morality- Someone is dieing of cancer. Someone gets shot because he had a couple bucks. Someone gets mad when his sister was killed and goes out to shoot them.

This main bachelor guy is more like an observer. He doesn’t have a life of vigilante motives, or show strong compassion for people. When someone cuts him down he just bounces back like a weed. He keeps a random journal in his dilapitated apartment in . . . New York? He makes money between smalltime theft, drug trafficking, odd under-the-table jobs. And instead of watching TV he likes to pick random things to do in the city- Throw darts at a wall, walk on top of buildings, fire a pistol at cans.

When he gets really mad he likes to go in this coffee shop where a lot of people are stoned and talks to people at random about the meaningless of things.

The image is like this- He never gets in trouble as long as his actions are petty. The lives of people around him seem to constantly turn for the worse because they get caught up in drama while he stays the same.

The end could be any interesting twist. Maybe he accidentally shoots someone. Strange opportunities start to show. Someone presents him with a chance for a bigtime heist that’s hard to pass up. Someone offers him money to take revenge for something. Someone offers him a high paying job if he “cleans up” and meets a deadline for certain work. Will he try to take all these opportunities all at once? Will he ignore them all and decide he’s happy the way it is?

Could anyone suggest a name? I’m terrible with names. What suits this petty criminal nihilist?

Purcell Meyers

also i’d like to suggest a name for the story

“Fool Proof”

I like that title . . . Purcell Meyers is kind of a fool- but feeling invincible to the folley of the world.

Fool Proof with Purcell Meyers.

I had second thoughts about the New York Setting. Could anyone paint a sort of inner city slum in the UK, maybe? Or does New York seem best? (oh what was I thinking. UK has no slums. :smiley: )

How is this for a co-star?

The vigilante. A neighbour of Purcell. Like Purcell has little money. Likes to play around. But more easily bothered by things. Lost to a surprise tragedy. Like a comrade lost in battle within the world of guilt and vendetta. If that’s useful, what name?

I’d love to see a scene, or a description of any of these elements.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be the first chapter/scene, more or less just a stream of consciousness piece that can be sprinkled in intermissions throughout the story. Also, I love to write (see my novel-in-progress in my sig), so if you need a prose writer for this, I’d be happy to contribute. Here’s a little of what I’ve concocted:

 [u]When you're a nihilist, everything gets turned down in volume. The intensity of emotions and thoughts are small ripples compared to what they used to be. This certainly has its pros and cons. For instance, anger and depression make fairly brief and timid cameos throughout my life. They appear, but they're mere ghosts of their former selves. Some would think that as being a good thing; I have no real opinion on the matter. Just as anger and sorrow have faded to nihilism, so have happiness and joy. I mean, sure I feel them, I'm inevitably human, but they seem to me to be more like facades than actual heartfelt feelings. The childlike naivety that was once necessary to truly believe in Santa Claus have long since been crushed. 

 I just stated that I have little to no opinion in terms of these circumstances. What I should have said was that I have little to no opinion in terms of anything. You have to give up opinions to be a nihilist. It's not by some cosmic standard of nihilism as a philosophy that inhibits me from asserting points of view; rather, nihilism simply corrodes opinions like a fucking parasite. If every idea, concept, and thought throughout all of humanity were constructed into a house, nihilism would be its termites. That's a shitty metaphor, but you get the point. 

 Nihilism shouldn't really be considered an 'ism'. I think that's where a lot of the confusion about it rests. People wonder how you can adhere to a philosophy that basically ritualistically murders other philosophies. First nihilism, in its truest form, is not a philosophy nor should it be considered as such. Secondly, I definitely don't "adhere" to nihilism or any philosophy for that matter. Hell, the only reason why I even use the word 'nihilism' is because of the semantics involved in getting my point across. Then again, I guess language is pretty fucking useless when you actually have no point to get across. 

 I know, I know, you must be dying to know what exactly nihilism is. Maybe you're well read and somewhat intelligent enough to have a clear understanding of its dictionary definition. But let me tell you, Merriam-Webster doesn't know shit. Nihilism is acknowledgment. It's admitting; it's the total concession of the futility of everything. It's perceiving no recognizable shapes in clouds. It's having the capability to burn or tear money apart at any instant. And everyone feels it everyday of their lives and they don't even know it. You feel it when you realize your spouse has been cheating on you. You know it when a bird hits your windowpane and you simply scoff at it. You can even hear it when you say a word over and over again and it begins to lose its meaning.

 Sometimes, if you look at something for too long, it also begins to lose its meaning.[/u]

It’s just a rough draft, but you get the point. The main character could, throughout the story’s progression, pause to comment one the happenings and events of the story as well as comment on the overall theme of the story.

Also, Gaiaguerilla, it seems to me that a nihilist would have pretty lackluster and insignificant dreams, if any at all. In fact, the book I’m writing right now (called Blind and Toothless [working title]) is about a nihilist who must traverse his own unconsciousness to delve for any meaning within it. I suggest reading the first two chapters, it’s in my sig.

Well, maybe his neighbor should be ethnic to add some visual contrast that can parallel with the interpersonal ones. Also, if he has money, it seems to me that he’d do better to be self-made, allowing him to have a troubled past. To me, Purcell seems rather like an ‘aristocratic delinquent’; his money comes from his parents who, having raised him in a lush, money-laden environment, have made him quite disillusioned and existential. In some ways, he’s particularly desensitized from pretty much everything whereas the neighbor is imbued with deeply-rooted and personal convictions (without being self-righteous). Think of the differences between Raskolnikov and Sonja in Crime and Punishment.

As for a name? Paul Trujillo is the name of a friend of mine. He’s hispanic though a hispanic ethnicity is pretty cliche in this day in age for playing the ‘misunderstood downtrodden roll’. The same could be said if he were black, but I sort of prefer that idea since a.) there’s a larger departure in physical characteristics and b.) it’s the perfect portrayal of a proletarian who has experienced injustice for most of his life. I still like Paul as the first name, maybe Wilkins as the last name. Paul Wilkins.

Also, I don’t know why but I feel as though Purcell should be a colossal douche-bag. Like the main character you just love to hate. He’s just a compulsive, Byronic asshole with nothing to lose. He’s more jester-like in nature, but he has some pretty well-formulated ideas underneath his veneer.

All of these are just suggestions.

A great setting might be L.A. Reasons? It’s probably the most plastic, disillusioned, eyes-glazed-over city in the world. In places like New York, London, and Chicago, people live in small areas, constantly brushing up against one another, affirming a human existence. Los Angelans surround themselves with kitschy suburbs and immense S.U.V.s, adding to their zombie-like states.

I live here in Phoenix Arizona which is a pretty huge city smack dab in the middle of the desert which offers an allusion to desolation. The problem is there isn’t much of a cohesive culture or identity to speak of in this town as of yet which can ground the characters in the story to reality; they should be constantly inundated by identities and cultural forms.

Las Vegas could do better but a.) currently it’s the setting for every fucking T.V. show out there, and b.) I’m already kind of using it in my book. :smiley:

I think the best place would be Long Island. It’s right next to New York City. It was also the setting for The Great Gatsby for a good reason; it’s laden with utopic housing structures and perfect scenery which makes the main characters feel as though they’ve made it to the finish line of life and have little else to strive for the lazy existence. That’s a perfect fertilizer for nihilistic feelings, as is the case in movies like Amityville Horror and Jaws which also take place there. Plus, it’s a logical place for jet setters from Manhattan or rags-to-riches millionaires from Brooklyn to settle down.

Thanks, provalone. I think a lot of that is very useful.

The paragraphs you offer I think could all be used intermittently, which allows a good sense of the character as he does different things. These paragraphs are all him trying to justify nihilism. Likewise, Purcell might mention specific things and try to justify the meaninglessness of those things.

Purcell could say some of it as a calm narrative, accompanying a barely moving delapitated scenery. Other times, saying it to the probation counsellor, other times to a total stranger.

Although I think elements would be good to show Purcell as a “jerk,” because as a nihilist there’s no morals that need to bar him, I’m compelled to give him some sort of dignity like a weak independance from mom and dad’s pocket-book. An independant jerk.

Long Island is interesting, but I don’t know if I like them too rich. People do strange things to occupy themselves when they have to be more creative without money. How about kind of riches-to-rags? Maybe . . . Purcell has a possibility of getting lots of money but suspects it’s a lost cause.

And what ethnicity is Paul Wilkins if not hispanic? What about Mulato? I also picture Purcell to have some slight british accent, but punk british. Shaved head and earring? Maybe he’s never been to britain, but was just raised by brits?

Okay. My next post will be devoid of debate and try to describe things and events.