Several weeks ago, I signed up to participate in a Collaborative Writing Challenge. I heard about CWC (www.collaborativewritingchallenge.com) in a Facebook group and I was intrigued.
CWC is a group of writers who start with a story concept and then build a novel one chapter at a time. Each chapter is attempted by a few participants and then the strongest chapter is chosen. So each chapter is by a different person. The story is written from many different brains and coordinated by the story coordinator.
So far, CWC has published two novels; The Concierge and Ambition. A third novel is in the editing stages and two more are in various stages of completion. All profits from the sale of the books goes to the International Board on Books for Young People or IBBY, “a non-profit organization which represents an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together.” (Quote from IBBY.com)
This week was my first week attempting a chapter and I had a ton of fun. On the one hand, it is a great writing exercise that doesn’t require too much commitment. I’ve signed up to attempt three chapters, but participants can choose to attempt only one, meaning a short commitment.
However, just because it’s a project done over a five-day timespan, doesn’t mean that it’s easy. I was challenged to take characters that weren’t my own and drive forward a plot that I don’t know in advance while trying to keep the voice somewhat consistent with the writers that came before. The program is well-run and I had access to chapter summaries and notes that covered important details, yet I still found it hard to keep track of everything that was happening in three different settings. Luckily, the story coordinator was available to answer questions!
After this first attempt, I am even more eager to see where the story goes and to have another go at it later this year. Whether my chapter is selected for the novel or not, I’ve learned a lot doing this. UPDATE: I was thrilled to find out this morning that my chapter has been selected to be included in the upcoming novel! More info. on this book down the line!
There will be new projects coming along. If you’re an interested writer, or even just want to read the published novels, have a look at their website: www.collaborativewritingchallenge.com.