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Once Upon A Time
An experiment in collective storytelling
Several People Are Typing is an experimental magazine about the wild future of decentralized media & creative collaboration. It was co-created by Foster, Seed Club, and Metalabel, along with dozens of writers and dreamers. You can collect a free NFT version, or purchase the physical magazine, from Metalabel.
This piece was facilitated Sarah Hoople Shere.
When we talk about “community tools,” we’re often referring to Discord bots or Slack integrations that offer time-saving hacks — they’re utilitarian, if a bit boring. We decided to turn this on its head and use these tools for pure play and creative collaboration. Using Meem’s Community Tweets bot — which lets a community decide together what to Tweet from a Discord or Slack channel — we co-created a short story using prompts inspired by the Once Upon a Time improv game.
A dozen Foster writers gathered in a Discord channel and, in a two-minute writing sprint, proposed starting sentences for the collective story. When time was up, the writers spent one minute voting for their favorites with emoji reactions, after which the winning sentence was anointed and automatically posted to Foster’s Twitter account.
The process was repeated six more times until a delightfully quirky story had unfolded. Behold the power of creative collaboration:
Once upon a time, time ceased to exist. And every day some idiot would try and jump start time again. Until one day, time started running in reverse. Because of that, the notion of "tomorrow" disappeared. Because of that, somebody was finally able to return to the moment that Stephenie Meyer thought of Twilight and prevent her from writing it, thus saving teen fiction from the worst blight in history. Until finally, we picked up our pens and started writing our own stories.