Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Poudre River Public Library Writers' Block

Here's what happened at the Writers' Block event at the main library in Fort Collins, Colorado, last Saturday.

Author Cricket McRae and I set up our books and promo materials at tables under an awning on the library grounds a little before noon. The third table under the awning was for the local NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) chapter to recruit participants for the November writing challenge. At the fourth table, materials were available for attendees to make their own bookmarks. And cookies. Lots of cookies.

Not too far away, another awning sheltered a bluegrass band called Horsetooth Mountain Rangers. I'm still humming Homegrown Tomatoes.

The purpose of the event was to create a community-written story with chalk on the sidewalk surrounding the library block. I had the honor of writing the first sentence. Cricket wrote the second. From that point on, participants of all ages took turns adding the next twist to a very complicated tale. At 3:00 PM, I started a sentence to bring the story back to earth (since it had taken flight to a distant galaxy), and Cricket wrote the ending.

The original goal had been to set a record by making it all the way around the block. However, the curvy pattern we established at the beginning didn't help our effort. We might have made it all the way if we had written in a straight line and used really big letters. We'll know better next time.

The weather was perfect. We met a lot of interesting and friendly folks and some amazing children who are already writing stories. An event of this type is more "show and tell" exposure than it is a sales opportunity for authors. To me, it was worth it to spend a beautiful afternoon meeting and talking to nice people. I'm very sorry I didn't take my camera.


Terry Odell said...

That sounds like such fun! Lucky they had you to return order to the chaos.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

What a great event! I love the idea of getting the participants to help write a story. The music sounds like fun, too.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Marvelous Marv said...

Ack! I wish you HAD taken the camera and shared some flicks - sounds like a very cool event on a wonderful day! but thanks for sharing - it's a great Fall day here in Michigan, I'm ready for a walk in the nearby park. ;)

The Old Silly

Elspeth Antonelli said...

This sounds like fun. We used to play a similar game in school that everyone contributed one line to a story; it was great to see where the tale went.


Helen Ginger said...

What a fun idea to write a story on the sidewalk (I now understand "Writers Block." I'm glad you had a good time and I hope you had some sales.

Straight From Hel

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Oh, yeah, I'm like Helen and now understand the event name. Sounds like an enjoyable day. You must not live far from Fort Collins as there are lots events and activities you highlight there. I visited a couple of times, nice place. Came close to moving there...as well as Colorado Spings.

Best Regards, Galen

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a super fun event! I like interactive stuff like that - especially when you see kids getting involved :)

Nancy, from Realms of Thought

Anonymous said...

Pat, you were awesome! Thanks again for your participation in the event... we will have the video up by the end of October!

Keep on writing!
Paula - Poudre River Public Library District - event coordinator