CWC Sci-Fi Project: #3

The Sci-Fi Project at Collaborative Writing Challenge finally has a name! Introducing:


Interstellar space travel is still a new reality for Earth. Dr. Dirk Forret, the nerdy, uptight planetary zoologist, returns to his scientific research vessel, the Ark, after a short walk on the planet Santelli Minor. Dirk’s pride in his precious ship is overshadowed by the return of one of its exploration pods, and of the herculean Franklin. Overenthusiastic and undeniably crude, Franklin reveals a number of Santelli’s newly discovered species, one of which he broke all Ark protocol to bring aboard.  – taken from CWC’s website page for Project 3

Setting up the first chapter as the foundation for this project was such an exciting week! I found myself going through all the possibilities of the future chapters, what characters could be written in, what new problems could be solved. At one point, Laura and I had a very long discussion about certain details we had found that might have already been “loopholes” in the story. My Sci-Fi fandom may run a little deeper than hers, and needless to say while we saw the same possible issues, our opinions varied greatly on the solutions. So an academic debate ensued on the mechanics of the Science Fiction genre, of what changes would severely limit the imaginative control the author’s had over their own chapters, and which would deny the finished piece its credibility as a Sci-Fi novel (all this after only editing the first chapter). It was a really big deal for us, wanting to start this new genre of CWC’s repertoire in the right way. It made my head hurt. And later that same evening, Laura and I ended up confessing to each other that we thought the chapter should be left as it was without any content changes to plot, characterization, or conflict. It was that simple.

That experience opened my eyes to the subtle manipulations of “overthinking”. While I am a Freelance Editor and Laura has founded this fantastic organization for international writers, we are still both authors. We write because we love it, because our stories brew and boil and get so hot that we have to put them down or perish. And I think we had forgotten a little bit of that simple joy of writing that first week, trying to find “the perfect edition” of Chapter 1. The huge, glaring light bulb turned on when I remembered that that is the whole point of CWC, of ‘Ark’. All stories have a life of their own, one that sometimes grows so big that it replaces the life of the author. But the Collaborative Writing Challenge is a little bit of a love child – so many people pour so much passion and imaginative talent into it that it surpasses any one of our skills or intentions. That’s something you just don’t see very often.

So this week I brought that understanding with me when all three of my writers for Chapter 2 graciously submitted their work on time and in high quality. It was amazing to watch three pieces start in the same place and end on completely different veins. New ideas and characters were introduced, solutions and a few new problems, and it was surprisingly difficult to choose the one that will be selected this week for Ark’s official Chapter 2. Of course, I can’t reveal any of that here, but I will share a few tiny excerpts from each of these chapters that I fell in love with automatically. I think they deserved a little bit of extra attention.

“Franklin staggered in circles, crashing into the walls as he wrestled with the worm.”  – Andrew Atkinson, CWC Author

“He smiled, thinking of the expression on her face when she found out she was now required to sink her pristine black shoes into the mud. ”  – Cristel Benitez, CWC Author

“Keep your mind occupied! Repeat a mantra or something!” From behind, Dirk heard the big man yelling repeatedly in a little girl’s voice, “Run, Forrest! Run!”  – Robert Mackey, CWC Author

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