First thing, that name’s gotta go.
Today I promised to lay out how this “crazy train” thing is gonna work – a bunch of different people coming together to write one book.
Actually, it’s pretty simple – but in order to explain it, I’m going to have to ruin QUITE a few surprises. That’s okay; you guys want to see how to sneak a surprise into a story, you’ll watch as we lay the land mines into the outline.
Here’s the gist of it: an old lady lies in her nursing home bed telling stories to a new nurse. I think you knew that. Each of you can write one of the stories she tells, potentially.
What are we doing today? Everybody gets to see my story ideas and suggest additional stories for the old lady to recall. Anything you want, we’ll consider it.
- You can take one of my ideas and run with it, and I’ll supervise the short story. We’ll collaborate, I’ll draw up an outline and start the story and characters, and you write it!
- You can write a story idea of your own.
- You don’t have to write at all; you can help someone else. (I’d like you to.)
- Editing might be done by me, or by you on somebody else’s story!
- If your story doesn’t fit (let’s face it, if we get 20 stories they can’t all be in one book) we may feature it here on the blog or possibly as bonus material.
ANY CONTRIBUTION MADE MY ANYONE will get them listed in the book and main contributors will be listed on Amazon – but I want to list as many on Amazon as possible, to get you the exposure you deserve.
Here’s how I plan on doing that:
- I will be doing a ton of work on this thing. I will write some stories for it, edit the contributing stories for cohesiveness, etc. So I’m expecting my name to take top billing on the book, right at the very top. However, if Stephen King joins us, I’ll let him take top billing. Because marketing. And Stephen King. Totally worth it.
- Whoever does the second most volume of work by my estimation or that of the group, they get second billing. If they do as much work as me, their name will be on the cover as big as mine. That’s a big deal, folks.
- Everybody who writes a short story that gets accepted, your name will be on the cover, too, a little smaller, as a “with” author. So it might say DAN ALATORRE, FRED FREDRICKSON Crazy Train Collective (it will NOT say that as the title – see below) with Annette Addition, Bill Bookwriter, Christy Contributor, Danielle Didit, and Evelyn Editor. (I’m thinking five “with” names, but there could be more.)
- If you help edit a story, proof read, etc, you’ll be listed inside as a co-author/with author AND in the acknowledgements, where I will gush about your contribution, and we’ll find a place to squeeze you in on the Ammy listing under editor. Or illustrator. Something. You may be asked to submit a doodle. (A stick man will probably do.) There’s a translator listing. Maybe there, who knows. But if we can list 50 contributors, we will. I want everyone who helps to be recognized with a searchable Amazon listing.
Okay, now the fun stuff.
WE NEED A TITLE
Crazy Train is really just a (bad) way to refer to people who want to work on an endeavor like this. That’s definitely not the name of the book! The thrust of the story/stories is these two people, their souls, are supposed to be together, but fate plays its games and when they meet up, they are separated in each story for some reason. So even though we’ll have a bunch of awesome romance stories that have sad endings (Titanic, anyone?), the reader needs to feel it in their bones each time that these two belong together! They are destined to be united. They are soul mates. They just don’t always know it. So think about a title because it can’t be crazy train. In the comments section below, make your suggestions for a title.
Next, a COVER.
(We may have to wait until we have a title.) The cover needs to reflect lovers and the spanning of time. Passion. Love. Lust. But not Fabio, okay? I actually have an idea for a cover so I’ll see if I can post it later this week, but if you get a vision of what I described in the prior paragraph, feel free to describe it in the comments section below or send it to me at the Contact Me button. Or both.
Now, the real meat: THE OUTLINES
The old lady goes into her nursing home. She tells stories every day to her new nurse. Each story is about two lovers who meet, and then because of a strange twist of fate they are not allowed to stay together.
The old lady/new nurse story takes place in modern times. Could be as long ago as 10 or 20 years, could be as far into the future as 10 or 20 years, but it’s more or less around now. This story will have a Fried Green Tomatoes feel, so we will come back to it between the other stories.
The short stories will be where individuals can showcase their skills.
There’s a story from 1849 – the young boy Nathan and the young girl Abigail (we can change these names). I started this story HERE. His father is a merchant supplying Gold Rush families as they cross the Mississippi to head west and strike it rich. Her father is a trader who plans on selling the miners whatever they need to keep mining, like Levi Strauss (the blue jeans guy) did. His family is staying put; hers is moving on – as soon as her father’s supplies come in and he gets over a bout of fever. But they have a few weeks while her father gears up. They make the most of it, sneaking off whenever they can, to hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes. Young love. The regret of not saying things you should until it’s too late. Her family departs and he decides staying is now too painful. He moves out with a family friend heading north to do trapping, leaving his pain and his old life behind. After a few weeks, she manages to return. Her father, like so many on the trail, has died of dysentery and she came back to find Nathan, but he is gone.
Then we might go back to a segment where the new nurse and the old lady converse, like THIS.
Another story involves a soldier in colonial times who loves a young lady but she is due to wed a wealthy man – possibly an older wealthy man. The young girl and the young man love each other, but her father insists she marry another. Since they love each other, he pledges his undying love, offering to elope with her right now. She wants to. He insists they should be together and says if there’s a God he’ll be able to see her and be with her and his dying words will be saying I love you as he gazes into her eyes. But she is as the times require – obedient to her family’s wants. She leaves to marry the older man and he decides to go off and fight the war in the place of a wealthy man’s son – as was also a custom at the time. Weeks later, cold and starving on a remote battlefield, he gets shot and lays dying in the mud, pulling an image of her from his pocket and says I love you as he gazes into her eyes before he dies.
There is a story from more modern times, where a girl of about 8 years old sees a young boy playing, and she later attends his funeral. You may have read that one. It’s a little rough but it sets the stage.
Another may involve two lovers who can’t be together because he is a marriage counselor and she is married, coming to see him with her husband. But there’s a spark, and he – they – have to wrestle with that.
Another might involve a student and a teacher, both men in the 1920’s, who can’t be together because society frowns upon such relationships.
Another involves a high school girl visiting a college campus and seeing a boy she was mesmerized by in high school, gathering the nerve to talk to him at a party and – after a few beers — telling him she always wanted to kiss him. He has to make a decision in front of his friends, but she feels a spark she remembered from the first time she saw him years before. Where does that go?
These are rough ideas, the details to be filled in or new ideas incorporated. Some stories will be longer, some shorter.
I have a thought about a westerner who loves a native American woman – and that was extremely unpopular in the old west, so we can deal with love and racism.
Again, we’ll jump back to the old lady in the home between the stories.
So you see the potential for lots of different genres and writers.
But here’s the kicker.
They are all the same two characters. Each story is a snippet of a bigger story. They are reincarnated again and again and thrown together until they find each other, until they figure it out. And it’s not always a boy and a girl. It can be two men or whatever. Because the soul might be a male in one life and a female in another. Either way, the souls find each other because they are destined to be together. They are soul mates.
The old lady has figured it out, as did the high school girl. They are one and the same. She’s the young girl who attended the funeral of the 8 year old boy (bottom half of that post), she’s Abigail, she’s the colonial guy’s daughter. And on her death bed, in the home, she is explaining it to the new nurse who has never really understood love, and she is laughed at by the jaded nurses who never will.
As the reader starts to understand the old lady IS the women she’s been telling stories about, we wonder where the boy is, the young man in the stories.
IS THAT AWESOME OR WHAT???
I’m freaking going bananas over here.
And then we need an ending. Maybe she sees him before she dies; maybe she knows she is about to catch up with him as she dies; maybe something else. After a bunch of sad stories, we can end hopeful or happy or whatever. We’ll figure that out.
Your job will be to volunteer to write one of these stories, to suggest a story to be added, to edit or proofread or beta read the thing; to help lay out a time line (because if they reincarnate, they kinda need to die before the next story starts). And oh yeah the main story of the old lady has to be a secret until we reveal it to the reader.
Tricky, but there are ways.
Who’s up for the challenge?
THIS MAY BE YOUR BIG CHANCE
THIS is your way to get some notice. This book will have a dozen people promoting it, and you want to be part of it, even if it’s a smaller role. EVERYONE can play a role! If your schedule won’t allow a lot of time, maybe you have a story or a chapter we can use from something you already wrote – send it in, let’s see! Like, we need a piece where the old lady’s son visits her in the home, so we can see they’ve grown apart. Who knows. You may have something already written that will work. (Are you listening, Jenny?)
And I’ll be working with all of you no matter your experience level (trust me, I’ll be learning from you, too). We’ll talk on Facebook or Messenger by email (NOT PINTEREST), and maybe occasionally discuss our project’s progress on the video show Writer’s Off Task With Friends, whatever it takes. You can periodically mention it on your blog so your followers know what you are working on and how excited you are to be a part of such a potentially huge project, giving updates about how it’s coming along.
Post below to suggest your ideas and give us your comments!
I WANT YOU!
Let’s do this thing! And please. Let’s think of a new title. Crazy train sucks.