Friday, October 23, 2009

Exquisite Corpse Adventure

I wish it was called something different. The name evokes for me vampires, horror movies, and nightmares I had in my childhood. The Exquisite Corpse Project is anything but what it sounds like, thank goodness. It is the brainchild of Mary Brigid Barrett, president and executive director of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance. (Did you know there was such a thing?)

An Exquisite Corpse is an old game in which people write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold it over to conceal part of it and pass it on to the next player to do the same. The game ends when someone finishes the story, which is then read aloud. Mary Brigid Barrett thought it would be interesting to give this tradition a 21st-century twist.

Jon Scieszka, the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, has written the first online episode, which is "pieced together out of so many parts that it is not possible to describe them all here, so go ahead and just start reading!" He has passed it on to a cast of celebrated writers and illustrators, who must eventually bring the story to an end. The story will take a year to finish and it will be an exciting journey.

How cool will it be to watch as honest-to-goodness-real-life writers pass this story on every two weeks for a new installment? We can get a birds-eye view of the writing process as it happens!

But wait, there's more.... Reading Rockets is sponsoring a monthly writing contest which will feature two prompts per month that are tied to the ongoing story. Prizes include stories being published on the website, autographed books, and a chance to win an author visit via Skype.

Real audience + real prizes = really cool, really motivational.

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