Chapter Chain

Inspiration

What inspired me?

In my last blog I talked about the first time I experienced ‘that feeling’ and when I realised it may be possible to realise my dream of becoming a proper writer; after writing a script for the local figure skating club to perform Peter Pan on ice.  So how did I go from writing a pantomime to launching the Chapter Chain?  

Following the success of our version of Peter Pan On Ice, I went on to write one story after another - or should I say I went on to ‘start’ writing one story after another!  But found I kept running out of steam before I finished the story.  It was easy enough to come up with the ideas (as mentioned a few times now I have a great imagination) but I’d find myself drifting off and coming up with a better idea before I’d finished the first and before I knew it I must have had about 6 unfinished books.  So over time I started to doubt it was possible to realise my dream of becoming a writer after all.

In the meantime, my sister and I continued to dream away many hours whilst hanging around our local ice rink waiting for  my figure skating niece to finish training, thinking up one idea after another to keep us busy.  One of our better ideas included running a website called ‘Skating Essentials’, where we provided lots of useful tips, information and links to websites where figure skaters (or rather their parents) could purchase the latest skating trend, music for routines, etc.  

To encourage people to keep coming back we decided to write a fictional story about a figure skater (something we knew our visitors would be interested in). So we started writing the story, just as we did with the pantomime in my sister’s front room, over a glass or three of wine, one chapter at a time.  

We decided the best idea to keep people coming back was to publish one chapter per month as we developed the story - and it was amazing the directions just two imaginations could take the story.  I’d think I knew exactly where the story needed to go but then, over a familiar glass of wine, out of the blue my sister would come up with a completely different story line, one that I would never have though of on my own, and vice versa.  This resulted in the most amazing story - and the response was fantastic - even I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next - and I was writing it!  

And so, although a roaring success at the time, as we all got older and we spent less and less time hanging around the ice rink; life took over and ‘Skating Essentials’ drifted into a distant memory.  

For me, work took over, I moved away and continued to ‘start’ writing stories - which, again, I rarely finished.   I often thought “if Lynn (my sister) was here, she’d come up with an idea or say something that would immediately shift my writer’s block”.  Then I started to imagine how many different directions the story would take if even more people collaborated - and that’s when the idea came to me!  What if I started a chapter and put it out there on the ‘world wide web’ to see where other writers and authors (established or not) would take the story.  Of better still, what if I just provide the first line?  How many different storylines could be derived from the same sentence?

And so the Chapter Chain was born.  A fictional story made up of a chain of chapters, each written by different people.  Everyone has to start the first chapter with “As s/he walked tentatively down each step…”  

And who better to judge which chapter(s) should be used in the book than fellow writers, authors and readers.  So, the most popular storyline, ie the chapter(s) receiving the most public votes, will be included in the final published book.  Once the winning chapter has been announced, the competition will re-open, inviting differing versions of chapter two, which obviously must follow on from the winning chapter one.

And so to the present day.  The first couple of chapters have just started to trickle in so please read them and vote for your favourite.  And maybe you fancy giving it a go yourself?  Entries for chapter one can be submitted up to 28 Feb.  Voting continues for chapter one entries until 26 March.  So come on, what have you got to lose?  Let’s see how many different versions of chapter one we can come up with between us all.

Posted 27 weeks ago

Where it all began?

chapterchain:

Ok so here goes, my first blog post for the Chapter Chain.  2017 is a brand new year and the Chapter Chain is a brand new writing competition, with a twist.  So what is this ‘twist’ I keep talking about and how did I come up with the idea for the Chapter Chain?  In this first post I’ll tell you where it all began.

I guess I’ve always had a good imagination and have secretly aspired to becoming a writer for as long as I can remember; I could just see myself taking time out at my chateau in the south of France to get some inspiration (well I did say I had a good imagination!). 

It all started about 17 years ago, my niece was a figure skater which meant that my sister and I spent a lot of time just hanging around at the local ice rink while she was training for one competition or other.  The figure skating club would put on a pantomime on ice at the end of every year which was always really popular, but this particular year they had a problem - the pantomime scripts they had were old and outdated and had been performed so many times they were getting desperate for something new.  So, in our wisdom my sister and I offered to come to the rescue and have a go at writing a new, fresh script for the chosen story - Peter Pan. 

So there it began!  We had committed to write a new pantomime script and everyone was relying on us so we couldn't back out now.  We spent the next couple of months getting together, over many a glass of wine (and the occasional brandy during times of inevitable panic).  The main difficulty we found, having never written a pantomime script before - or any script for that matter - was how to tell the story adequately through a few lines then a skating routine to music, so we came up with the idea of having a storyteller introduce the story at the start of each scene, and then recap at the end of each scene - all in rhyme. 

We spent night after night writing the story and summing it up through rhymes - and between us we did it.  We wrote a fantastic script, with lots of audience participation.  It all seemed so easy when we were making it up over a glass or three of wine, but it wasn't until the opening night, as all the spectators started to fill the seats (it was a sell out) that I felt the sudden panic - what if people think it’s a load of rubbish? 

But I needn’t have worried.  That was the moment it happened - the moment I realised it was possible. 

After the half time break, I was standing behind the curtains waiting for ‘the sign’ to send my 10 little figure skaters out onto the ice to perform their routine, when the Storyteller started the rhyme for the story so far.  I could hardly hold back my tears of pride when I heard the whole cast, of about 60 children from 4 to 14 years of age, all chanting the rhyme, word perfect, along with the Storyteller - one of the many rhymes that my sister and I had made up sitting in her front room, under the inspiration (oops I mean) influence of wine.  And the audience were absolutely loving it.  The pantomime was such a roaring success that year that our version of Peter Pan still gets pulled out and performed from time to time to this day, and continues to get raving reviews. 

So that was it - the first time I experienced that feeling - I don’t know if it’s adrenaline, satisfaction, pride, or relief (or all of the above), when you have taken that scary step to share your personal imagination publicly and you realise that people actually liked it, I mean really liked it.  And that was the moment that I realised it may be possible to realise my dream of becoming a writer.  

But that was just the beginning….  In my next blog post I’ll reveal what happened to inspire me to come up with the idea of www.chapterchain.com - the writing competition with a twist…

Posted 27 weeks ago

Where it all began?

Ok so here goes, my first blog post for the Chapter Chain.  2017 is a brand new year and the Chapter Chain is a brand new writing competition, with a twist.  So what is this ‘twist’ I keep talking about and how did I come up with the idea for the Chapter Chain?  In this first post I’ll tell you where it all began.

I guess I’ve always had a good imagination and have secretly aspired to becoming a writer for as long as I can remember; I could just see myself taking time out at my chateau in the south of France to get some inspiration (well I did say I had a good imagination!). 

It all started about 17 years ago, my niece was a figure skater which meant that my sister and I spent a lot of time just hanging around at the local ice rink while she was training for one competition or other.  The figure skating club would put on a pantomime on ice at the end of every year which was always really popular, but this particular year they had a problem - the pantomime scripts they had were old and outdated and had been performed so many times they were getting desperate for something new.  So, in our wisdom my sister and I offered to come to the rescue and have a go at writing a new, fresh script for the chosen story - Peter Pan. 

So there it began!  We had committed to write a new pantomime script and everyone was relying on us so we couldn't back out now.  We spent the next couple of months getting together, over many a glass of wine (and the occasional brandy during times of inevitable panic).  The main difficulty we found, having never written a pantomime script before - or any script for that matter - was how to tell the story adequately through a few lines then a skating routine to music, so we came up with the idea of having a storyteller introduce the story at the start of each scene, and then recap at the end of each scene - all in rhyme. 

We spent night after night writing the story and summing it up through rhymes - and between us we did it.  We wrote a fantastic script, with lots of audience participation.  It all seemed so easy when we were making it up over a glass or three of wine, but it wasn't until the opening night, as all the spectators started to fill the seats (it was a sell out) that I felt the sudden panic - what if people think it’s a load of rubbish? 

But I needn’t have worried.  That was the moment it happened - the moment I realised it was possible. 

After the half time break, I was standing behind the curtains waiting for 'the sign’ to send my 10 little figure skaters out onto the ice to perform their routine, when the Storyteller started the rhyme for the story so far.  I could hardly hold back my tears of pride when I heard the whole cast, of about 60 children from 4 to 14 years of age, all chanting the rhyme, word perfect, along with the Storyteller - one of the many rhymes that my sister and I had made up sitting in her front room, under the inspiration (oops I mean) influence of wine.  And the audience were absolutely loving it.  The pantomime was such a roaring success that year that our version of Peter Pan still gets pulled out and performed from time to time to this day, and continues to get raving reviews. 

So that was it - the first time I experienced that feeling - I don’t know if it’s adrenaline, satisfaction, pride, or relief (or all of the above), when you have taken that scary step to share your personal imagination publicly and you realise that people actually liked it, I mean really liked it.  And that was the moment that I realised it may be possible to realise my dream of becoming a writer.  

But that was just the beginning….  In my next blog post I’ll reveal what happened to inspire me to come up with the idea of www.chapterchain.com - the writing competition with a twist…

Posted 33 weeks ago
Posted 33 weeks ago