You’ve played this game before, right? Where one person begins a story, no limits, and passes to the next person, who adds to the story’s beginning, again no limits, then passes again to the next person? The story can take as many twists and turns as the various players can imagine, and the ending is usually nothing like what the beginning might have hinted. Or maybe it is! This is completely up to the players.
Oh my gosh. Friends, it is so much fun. I was subbing in an eighth grade English class this winter, sans-lesson plans because the regular teacher had taken sick rather suddenly. To calm the natives, who were restless and can definitely smell a sub’s fear, I had them sit on the floor in a big circle. We kicked off this game with about nineteen extremely creative, intelligent, hilarious thirteen-to-fourteen year olds, and the results were phenomenal! Some kids were shy at first, but the story-telling opened them up even more than I expected. Other kids dove right in, face first, plunging into the icy unknown waters of fiction with greed and joy. It was a sight to behold, and I walked away from that class period wishing fervently that I had taken notes. Their communal, accidental story was amazing. And as a group they were on a serious writer’s high when the bell rang. Lots of the kids ran up to me in the hallway later that week asking if we could do it again. It is FUN.
Well, I want to play this game with y’all. My really smart, funny, insightful, creative readers. And I have the perfect prompt: This photo. I snapped it while on a particularly invigorating run this morning, not at the farm in case you’re confused. It literally stopped me in my tracks.
Since I cannot gather you in one room at the farm and have you sit on the floor in a circle (although that would also be a blast!), let’s just pass the baton electronically. The first person to comment can write in any direction whatsoever, as briefly or as lushly as you desire. The next person, same invitation. Feel free to change the story completely or embellish, go deep or get ridiculous. Variety and will. That’s the thing.
I would be tickled turquoise if this story were to continue gradually for many weeks. Tell your friends! Spread the word. Come back often to see where the storyline has spun, and contribute as many times as you like. Do you have writerly kids? They can play too! Let’s see what kind of story we can build together.
Okay, I’ll start…
Emma couldn’t believe that it was really happening. She’d heard warnings and horror stories about it all her life and was trained for such situations in half a dozen ways but never thought of herself as a target. The man who’d been tailing her in her blind spot for a full mile was gaining on her, aggressively now with no one else in sight, and she felt that prickly heat sensation of danger scan rapidly over her body. Pushing her son’s stroller leisurely all morning, she now picked up to a clumsy jog and resisted to urge to turn around and look at the man in the face. Didn’t want to see him, wanted to will him far away from her and her baby. She sped up. The chunky wooden necklace she’d been so careful to select that morning was now bouncing painfully against her collarbone and ping-ponging off of her face, confusing her and obscuring her view. Her son either felt Emma’s tension or was uncomfortable with their new pace and started fussing…
See? Easy. Your turn!