It’s very easy to play and a lot of fun. Anyone can play, writer or novice. Any number can play as well. It involves an exchange of letters or emails. The first player establishes his or her character, their situation, why they’re writing letters or emails and the identity of the person or persons with whom they are corresponding. Each player is responsible for developing their character and telling their part of the story. Plot, conflict, setting, and characters can all be developed this way.
The Letter Game has been used as a form of collaborative fiction or as writing exercises. Some books have even found publication after being written this way. In fact, that’s how I came across this game – I read one of the books!
The book was SORCERY AND CECILIA by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. I was captivated by the idea of telling a story in that fashion. I’ve since played the game several times, with friends who were writers and friends who were complete novices, but possessed of excellent imaginations. One of those books has formed the basis for a SF adventure I’ve got simmering on the back burner, UNDERNEATH DEAD STAR. If the title sounds familiar, it’s also the title of a Blade Devon holofeature.
Yes, I do like things all neat, tidy and intertwined.
The great thing about using The Letter Game to tell a story and exercise your writing skills is that the setting and elements are virtually unlimited. DEAD STAR is set on a deep-space outpost on an asteroid near a star that is in its death throes at the edge of the known galaxy. SORCERY AND CECILIA is set in Regency England in an alternate reality in which magic is not uncommon.
Think of all the possibilities!
One of the most frustrating things for writers is the solitary nature of writing. The Letter Game provides a wonderful opportunity to interact with others within our own medium – kind of like a literary jam session, if you will.
In fact, this gives me an idea that I need to pitch to some of my sf writer friends who have suggested we all find a way to collaborate…
Have you ever tried a collaborative storytelling game?