Creative writing A shared letter story by post
Stories are generally written by a single author. However, this doesn’t always have to be the case. Writing a story together can be very enjoyable, especially when everyone takes turns to write the next chapter. Unexpected twists reveal a story that almost becomes a dialogue between those writing it.
Here’s how it works
The simplest way to write a shared story is to take the “left-to-right” approach. Which means:
- One person writes the introduction. The introduction describes a small group of people, animals or fantasy figures (the author can choose), who set out on their adventure together. A description of the characters, their environment, what they discuss, see and experience is thus included at the start. For example, the heroes of the story could be travelling along a narrow path, through a deep, dark forest until they come to a fork in the path.
- This presents two options for continuing the story. The author describes what can be seen in the distance, both on the right and the left. For example, “The three friends are unsure of which path to take. A long and winding road on the left leads to what appears to be an abandoned castle; on the right, the forest continues and there is a clearing. However, a dragon dozing in the sunlight makes this the more dangerous option”. And this is where the text stops.
- The story is then sent to a second person who continues with the next chapter. It is now up to them to decide how the story unfolds. He or she chooses a path for the fictional group, left to the castle or right to the dragon, and what they experience as a result. This can be a short or slightly longer adventure. Regardless of the choice made, the group will once again come to a point in the story where they will be forced to make a decision. In other words: left or right, East or West, this way or that way. A short description of both choices then follows. And once again the story stops and the text is sent to the next person.
Of course, there could also be a small café on the left and a bookshop on the right, and maybe the story is about a single character. The world in which the story is set can be embellished as the authors see fit. The options are endless, whether it’s a novel, murder mystery, thriller or fantasy. It may be a never-ending story, or the letter is only sent back and forth four or five times – this is entirely up to the writer. It can, however, be helpful to make reference to this early on. But whichever way the story goes, excitement will build until the next chapter arrives in your letterbox.