Collaborative Storytelling


I’ve been playing Dungeon and Dragons every other week with some friends for a couple years now.  And recently, I was reading back through some fanfic that I wrote with a friend, and it got me thinking about collaborative storytelling.

I’ve actually been collaboratively telling stories since I was a kid.  That was one of the ways my best friend and I played.  We’d act out stories with various stuffed animals, plastic figures, or other toys.  It usually worked in a way where we each had one (or several) characters that we ours, and we talked through what was happening and who was saying what.  And that’s basically what table top roleplaying games are, except there are dice and rules for resolving combat and other contested interactions.

I’ve realized that’s how I did my collaboration with a writer friend several years ago as well.  She liked a magical power I’d given someone in my own fanfic and wanted to use a character with that ability in hers.  So instead of her borrowing the idea with my permission, I came up with a couple characters and we wrote the scenes together.

It was a ton of fun to sit around her living room trading documents back and forth (this was before Google Docs had really taken off…) and working through the scene together.  It’s the kind of collaborative storytelling my RPG group tends to engage in.  We’re all coming up with ideas and taking turns and steering the story in various directions.  It’s the kind of collaborative storytelling I most enjoy.

There are a lot of opportunities out there for this kind of collaboration.  From table top RPGs to text-based online RPGs to working with a real human being on a story.  I think I’d like to continue making time in my life for this sort of collaboration.  How about you?  Do you like participating in collaborative storytelling?  Where do you do yours?

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