Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The evening of March 29, 2010 saw the beginnings of an interesting experiment on Twitter. A handful of friends, all Twilight fanfiction writers, were struggling with writer's block, trying to make progress on each of their private projects. We were considering starting our very first Writers Circle (WC), when Jezunya said, "Why not do it here on Twitter instead, as a #writealong?"
So the idea was born, the bastard child of Mrs.TheKing's #readalong and the more traditional WCs. It was off the cuff, and less than 20 minutes later we started the very first #writealong.
The idea is simple. Anyone can join in, and anyone can drop out when they need to. Those who are participating concentrate on writing whatever it is they're working on. At the beginning of the writealong, everyone says what story their working on and their current word count, and then every 30 minutes, on the hour/half-hour, everyone reports in with how many words they added in the last half hour, and/or a teaser from what they've just written. In between, people ask spelling or grammar questions, whine about their characters behaving, and generally share in the joys and stresses of writing. All Tweets are labeled with the #writealong hashtag, so even people who aren't following each other can see who all is participating.
We went for about two and a half hours that first night, with some people coming in late, some people dropping out early, and a few hardy souls continuing long after the rest of us were asleep. As it was winding down, I got to thinking -- how many new words, total, had we added to Twilight fanfiction with this little exercise? Personally I had added 426 words to my nearly-done one-shot Passing Afternoon (link coming soon!), and I knew Jezunya had added 136 before falling asleep on her keyboard. I threw together a quick GoogleDocs spreadsheet and invited everyone to add their totals -- turns out that between just eight of us participating, we added over 9,000 words in just one night!
After getting many requests to do another writealong soon, Sorcha put together this lovely blog for us, and we are officially off to the races! Our plan is to use this blog, and the associated Twitter account @TwiWriteAlong, to organize upcoming writealongs, celebrate chapters and stories finished during a writealong, and help pimp the stories of each writer who participates. And, hopefully, make a few friends along the way. ;)
We'll also be keeping track of our word totals over the course of all writealongs (WAs) over on the spreadsheet, and totaling up not only our collective totals for each WA, but each author's lifetime WA word count, and our collective lifetime total. Those numbers are concrete proof of the creativity going on in every corner of this fandom, all over the world, at every hour of the day.
So what do you think, Twi fandom? Do you have questions? Interested in participating? Drop us a line here, or come follow us on Twitter, @TwiWriteAlong. There's lots more to come from us -- schedules and post-game reports and story birth announcements and more. We hope very much that you'll join us in supporting TwiFic writers everywhere!