Wednesday, 13 June 2012

1 hook/3 outcomes - a revision to my "Alternate Endings" project

Having now finished 'Camera/Phone v1' the first of my trilogy of short stories with alternative endings (as outlined in this post, I've realised that the whole concept was maybe a little ill conceived. Bear with me though, I'm not abandoning it, just tweaking the details. My original idea was to write three stories that were essentially the same for the first two thirds but radically different in the final act. The idea being that the differences in the final twist would cast the previous events on a different light. I still think there is potential in this idea, just not for this particular story.
My completion of 'Camera/Phone v1' coincided with me reading a great post detailing Pixar's 22 rules of story-telling. You can read them for yourself here:, but the one that spoke to me and helped me galvanise my thoughts about the 'Camera/Phone' series was number 4:
"Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___."
What that made me realise was I'd been pitching my twist too late, saving it for the "Until finally" section. I think v1 works as a story but to make v2 and v3 work I need to make the break from v1 much earlier. What I'm now trying to do isn't an alternate ending, it's a single opening and hook with three outcomes. The set up goes like this then:
"Once upon a time there were two young people called Alexi and Jackson who loved each other even though they didn't admit it. They used to take things from other people. One day they took a phone from a man and found that it has pictures of a crime on it."
It's after that my three stories start to deviate.
What I could do is use the same opening for all three stories but I'm going to resist the temptation to do that (and it is tempting, because anyone who has followed my work will know I'm very much of the "churn them out and move on to the next story" school). v2 and v3 will each me written from scratch but the premise and the two main characters (Alexi and Jackson) will be identical.
v2 is already underway following that model and I like what I've don't on it so far. The ending is going to be killer too, naturally. :)

Camera/Phone v1 is available from Smashwords and Amazon.

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