Using a Glitch App to Write Stories with Friends

My friends and I love to collaborate on projects, so I made a fun easy creative writing app for us to use — make your own with our starter app.

There’s a conceptual game that surrealists came up with called the Exquisite Corpse. The premise of an Exquisite Corpse drawing is that one person starts to draw. Then the next person can only see the bottom edge of the drawing, and has to complete it.

I wanted to take the concept of continuing off of another person’s work, and turn it into an online game. With a Glitch app that I made, a group of long-distance friends and I took turns writing a story together. We each started with the last 150 characters of the previous writer’s contribution and had to add our piece to it. We created a calendar so we each had an equal number of writing days, then had a call where we came up with some story basics. This included 4 main characters, and a time and place for the story to happen in — the week before New Year’s Eve 2999.

I was inspired to make a game like this after the same friends participated in Inktober and would share their art every day of the month. We all got so excited to see each other’s work that it motivated us to stay on top of our drawings and complete the whole month. I’ve tried to do Inktober alone for the past three years and usually only quit halfway. After our month of sharing art, we were looking for ways to work on something together and I thought it would be fun to make our own collaborative story.

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This app is built on Glitch, using the Hello Express template, and Airtable as an easy database. When our story was complete, I had a page where all the text is displayed and we can read the story in its entirety (Coming to the Kindle Store, and NYT Bestsellers list soon). Then on New Year's Eve we all got a glass of bubbly and did a dramatic reading over Google Hangouts. The story was completely bonkers! Sometimes it had a bit of a flow, then there complete tangents that were never resolved. It was hilarious and made pretty much no sense — more sense than Cats, but not much more.

This experience is what really excited me about building an app that exists outside the screen. The reading and writing happens in the app, but there’s a fun social component that goes far beyond it.

If you want to give this a try with your friends, I made an Exquisite Story Starter app for you. All you need is an Airtable account, and a Glitch account.