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.