A campfire story is a writing exercise for authors, and as such will inevitably be a bit sloppy at times. That’s OK and doesn’t mean it can’t make for an interesting read. With that said, here are some tips to help make your chapter flow more seamlessly with the chapters of the other participating authors.
- Read what’s been written before you and take notes if necessary.
- You have 500-700 words to work with, which I realize isn’t a lot but it should be enough to move the story forward a bit. With that said, if you write your chapter and NOTHING happens (for instance, let’s say the prior chapter ends with two characters sitting at a campfire—no pun intended. Your job as the next author is to tell us what happens next, meaning it may not be effective to just have them sit there reflecting on how warm the fire is. Focus on the story, in other words.
- …and with THAT said, don’t try to hit a home run with your chapter. In other words, you don’t and probably shouldn’t, have to answer all the questions or set up the entire storyline in your 500-700 words. This isn’t story telling…this is explaining a story concept. Trust the writers around you…move forward with the previous scene rather than going back to something from eight scenes prior (unless it makes sense to do so, of course). Remember, this is a story and should have a fluid progression to it.
- Have fun and take chances! I would say to try to keep it within the parameters of the world prior writers have established (for instance, if this turns into a fantasy novel, suddenly introducing little green men in flying saucers might soil things a bit) but remember this is a writing exercise…a time to experiment within reason and test your skills at adapting to what other minds have created.
- Be respectful. I can’t see it happening, but if someone comes in with an obvious intent to spoil the story, the chapter won’t be accepted. I think that goes without saying. That doesn’t mean it’s going to evaluated or measured against one another for quality (again, this is for fun and to exercise our writing skills), but there is a point where it becomes clear someone’s trolling the group. I think anyone who has interacted in a writer’s message board of significant size knows what I’m talking about.