We’ve been at this for a little over a year now. Our first meeting was on January 5th, 2014, and we had our sixth meeting on February 27th, so we are nearly maintaining a bi-monthly pace (with a holiday break worked in). When we met this most recent time, we began our planned live-writing exercise. Vicki, Jon, Bethany, Nicole, Kim (with her sister as our special guest), Mike, and Susannah attended—and brought along a bio for a character that could be dropped into a to-be-determined setting and plot. After reading our character profiles to the group, we used Rory’s Story Cubes to set the scene. We rolled a wooly mammoth, a wolf howling in front of a moon, an arrow, a chalk outline, an amoeba, and a bowl of rice. The wooly mammoth felt a bit restrictive until Bethany pointed out that we could always set things in a museum and not have to actually write about prehistoric times. Whew!
That idea seemed to turn on the collective light bulb, and we were off and running. We decided to set a death (at first we couldn’t decide whether to make it a murder or an accident) during a charity event at a small-sized, privately-owned museum. The characters we all sketched out in advance worked remarkably well for the story, and it was fascinating to see how the available characters dictated the plot once they were placed into logical roles. Nicole’s narcissistic socialite became the museum’s owner. Susannah’s peacenik became its curator. Vicki’s film star was the inspiration for having a charity gala, and Bethany’s character became the travel reporter covering the event. The intrepid but introverted boy that Jon created became the crime’s reluctant witness. And the pudding-loving 6-yr-old that Mike wrote even became the son of another character who had a young son.
Our original plan was to write the story that night, but we decided there was not enough time left to do it justice. Instead we wrote a plot synopsis, broke it into seven major sections, and divided the assignments amongst ourselves. Bethany set up a Google doc for us to collaborate in, and we all added our character sketches and are working on writing our parts for the next meeting.