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Thread: Epistolary Novel group project

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    Junior Member waningbutterfly's Avatar
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    Default Epistolary Novel group project

    (Please excuse the bad grammar and randomness of this post. It was hastily written on random blank parts of different sides of bits of paper as the idea came to me and even I had great difficulty deciphering it.
    It may or may not have been pieced together in the right order and I get a bit carried away at times.
    But I'd like to think someone may take the time to read through my scratchings and see if the idea sounds apealling)

    Dear FPGeeks,
    I propose that we combine incowrimo and nanowrimo to create inepnowrimo (catchier title pending) and form groups to write epistolary novels.

    Each group can have any number of participants (but obviously the more people in each group the more complex the logistics and continuity becomes) with each participant writing as their own character, as they recount their lives, seek advice, give comfort and generally express themselves through letters.

    We should allow each group to choose a setting/time period/premise.
    The world can be can be our own (at any point in history, future or past) or a fictional one with it's own laws, customs and taboos if you are feeling more creative.

    Some examples:

    Perhaps an early explorer of our world who rose from a humble lower class background to academia through exploration is writing letters about their experiences travelling to exotic and isolated cultures, documenting their findings.
    They could be quite liberal and accepting of these cultures or clouded by the morals and attitude they were brought up with.
    This could be done in letters to learned colleagues and members of an academic or political institution and less formally to a family member of humble means.

    The exact relation and dynamics of how these these people know each other to be decided by their writers.

    Perhaps in turn the academic could be writing to a colleague about the contents of the letters he or she received from the explorer to this person -does academic 1 have a difference of opinion or professional rivalry with the explorer or do they respect each other? does one party respect the other while the other thinks more disaprovingly about that person in private?- along with their own lives -how do the goings on in academic 1 and 2's lives impact their views on news of the explorers travels?

    Perhaps the family member could be writing to another family member, they could be discussing their own familys, the difficulties, happiness and everyday adventures of lower class life no less important or meaningful than that which is going on in different circles. How do they feel about the ambitions of their high flying relative?, do they feel resentment and lack of understanding at their relatives abandonment of them for a different way of living or is the relationship loving and supportive with those at home proud of their relatives achievements.

    Who is more accepting or prejudiced towards tales of cultures that differ from their own, the everyman, the scholar or the person experiencing this clash of beliefs first hand? And what background do they have? Are their opinions consistent with that which is typically accepted or not by others of the same background or do they differ?

    I think this could be a fascinating project

    I also think that the participants should only be privy to the letters addressed to them or what is disclosed in those letters about what they have received from another. This would make things much more spontaneous and interesting!

    Perhaps one of these writers is going through relationship difficulties or a friend of theirs is, how would this effect their attitudes upon hearing about the explorers travels through a more 'libertine' culture?
    Coincidences like this could make for interesting reading!
    Also the differences in the way someone writes depending on who the recipient is, do they mask their true feelings with a more acceptable one to some readers and not others or do they speak their mind regardless of who they are speaking to?

    This set up also allows for varing levels of commitment suited to each participants desired level of involvement depending on the time they have available.
    The explorer, colleague 1 and family member 1 are each writing to two people while colleague 2 and family member 2 are only writing to one.
    This would however make the letters colleague 2 and family member 2 receive and their responses very interesting as they are only receiving part of the story and what is told to them second hand pre filtered through the viewpoint of their correspondent, they also have their own backstories and personal circumstances that are unknown to a few of the major players of the story.

    What does everyone think? Does this sound way too ambitious?
    I imagine that participants respond to letters as they receive them (if they correspond with two people, allowing one letter from each correspondant to arrive so that person b can discuss a letter from person a with person c, etc?)


    Topics could also be just about anything you could imagine.

    How about siblings leaving home and beginning to make their way in the world independently through work, study, creating families of their own (or not) how do their lives go in different directions?, how do they develop?, how do they feel about memories of growing up in the family home? Do they think back fondly and reminisce about simpler times or are they glad to have the freedoms that come with adulthood? And do they agree?
    Do they struggle with their own emerging responsibilities or excell?
    Perhaps their childhood was not a happy one, are they step siblings, did they come from a broken home? A violent one?
    How did this effect them as adults and did it effect them differently in their individual lives?
    Did they come from a single parent family? Was money plentiful or hard at times? We're they orphaned?
    Did they have a stable upbringing in one or two homes their whole childhood or did they move around a lot?
    Has this changed how they choose to live their own lives now? Did they make similar or differing choices and if so we're they made for similar or differing reasons?
    Did they have other siblings or close familly, friends in common? And where are they now?
    Why do they still keep in touch with each other? Are either in contact with any other members if their family or anyone else?

    The possibilities are endless, All these things could be decided by individual groups and worked out prior to starting.
    The details could be worked out publicly or in private messages.

    If you have an idea, post it and interested parties can then arrange which role they take and any small details, aspects of each character with only the relevant character dynamics between each corresponding pair.

    Perhaps you do not want, the participants playing personal life roles to even know details of the nature of other corespondants that person may or may not have or maby you do. It's entirely up to you!

    Maby you post an outline like the ones above and recruit characters or post a general scenario/time period and work out the characters in private with the identities of each pairs other corespondants unknown to people they are not directly corresponding with untill anecdotes or information is passed between corresponding pairs.

    I would be more than happy to take on an independent coordinator role for groups that wish to keep participants in the dark like This, giving the relevant information to each party and passing discussion/ideas between members of a group so that everyone can be involved in the planning of the parts relevant to them even if the number and characters of other participants are not open.

    At least, I can try my best to do as much as possible within reason.

    Obviously I don't want to turn this into the equivalent of a full time job but within reason I'd be far more than happy to organise where ever I can and an independent party is required during the planning stages of groups and maintaining participants lack of knowledge of things their characters would not know!

    After a certain period of time has passed or the project comes to a natural conclusion, the letters could be scanned in chronological order between all participants and uploaded to their respective projects archive post.
    If the participants decide they want this to be ongoing letters could be uploaded and transcribed after a certain agreed time delay so others can follow along!
    Participants should try to avoid being privy to information contained in the archive that their character has not been told (person c should not know the contents of a letter from person a to person b except what has been passed onto them or discussed through the filter of person b with them) in order to keep things interesting and give a secondary pleasure of seeing a whole new side of the story in a wider context when it ends!
    Similarly relative 2 would not be privy to to private corespondance of academic 1 and 2 for instance.
    I am also happy to post scanned letters to each groups archive post to make sure no participant accidentally sees something they shouldn't.

    Some other examples would be electronic communications between a scientist stationed to a research outpost on a neighbouring planet to earth, this could include internal correspondence with other members of their team and the disputes and dynamics of working in such confined isolated quarters and possible communications back to earth or researchers stationed at other outposts on the same planet sharing information about their different locals, outpost specific difficulties or on a space station.

    This is very similar to the explorer one, just in a different time and place
    But perhaps some enterprising soul could throw a wildcard in by taking on the role of bureaucracy? They are not privy to the goings on between correspondants but can receive formal complaints, appeals and suggestions from everyone and can enact policy changes that are sent to everyone that can restrict or inhibit the goals and goings on of the other characters (basing their decision on receiving multiple similar suggestions from different characters, or logical arguments) without really being aware of how this changes the day to day lives of their employees.
    I can imagine allegiances and office politics forming to restrict or alter specific individuals.

    The same theme could also be applied to a scenario on earth in a facility such as biosphere 2, this could be set in the past, present or future, or with a different planet, species, or universe entirely

    This can be realistic and a great opportunity to research the time period, people and places, attitudes and beliefs relevant to your subject or you could get as creative as you like and construct entire fantasy worlds with their own laws and realities.

    It's entirely up to you!

    So let's get the ball rolling with ideas!

    Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

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    fountainpagan (November 27th, 2017)

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    Senior Member Marsilius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Epistolary Novel group project

    I look forward to following this thread. Alas, I am behind on writing boring articles, so unless you want really bad academic prose, I should watch from the sidelines.
    And welcome to FPG!
    Fortibus es in ero

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    Junior Member waningbutterfly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Epistolary Novel group project

    Looks like I was too ambitious, or my slightly psychotic overenthusiasm scared people off!


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    Senior Member Marsilius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Epistolary Novel group project

    Quote Originally Posted by waningbutterfly View Post
    Looks like I was too ambitious, or my slightly psychotic overenthusiasm scared people off!


    Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk
    Donít give up. Traffic might be a little slow. Between looking at the WTS and discussing tariffs, folks might be a little busy now.
    Keep reminding folks of this cool idea as you lead to the months with long acronyms. Maybe even I will relent!
    Fortibus es in ero

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    Senior Member fountainpagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Epistolary Novel group project

    It is a very good idea.

    I fear I don't master english enough to participate. Another thing is I am unable to consistancy, and would not like to let the other participants waiting for my inspiration, or life, to turn towards the novel.

    I am certain you will find other participants.Don't give up, it is really a nice project.

    Edit - People may be a little busy preparing Christmas already, ergo less inclined to start such a project. And, yes, trafic is maybe a little less at this time of the year.

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    Marsilius (November 27th, 2017)

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