Pont Neuf Setting and Collaborative Plots in Written Across the Genres

My anthology, Written Across the Genres, has two Dock Stories toward the end of the book. The setting is Paris, the dock is below the Pont Neuf, the oldest of the 37 bridges that cross the Seine River. Both versions are collaborative stories. I wrote the first paragraph and each person in my two writing classes added 150 words to the story when it was their turn. Dock Story One had more people that contributed, which made the details of the mystery difficult to coordinate, but it turned out after several months of editing. Dock Story Two had half the entries, about ten, and with the same beginning paragraph, became a totally different plot.

Those stories weren’t outlined. The writers met the challenge of continuing the story so the actions would be logical and the arcs would be clear. We had major problems with the arc in Dock Story One. The first draft, didn’t have an arc, so we had to eliminate everything after the first four entries and start over. Since I am not a writer who uses outlines, I had faith these stories would succeed. My outstanding assistant, Linda, who is a plotter, had doubts but worked hard on managing the details.

Lisa Cron in Wired for Story, Chapter Five, satisfies both plotters and non-plotters in her suggestions to think of outlining, not from beginning to end, but to put into play the Who, Why, Where, How and What Will Happen. That concept works for me, one who shudders at the word outline. In the Dock Stories, I started the Who and Where. The class members had to think in terms of What Will Happen and provided the How and Why.

Check the two versions of the Pont Neuf Dock Stories in Written Across the Genres, and see the differences in What Happened.

The anthology is available on Amazon or can be ordered at most book stores.


Filed under Anthology, Paris, Writing Tips, Written Across the Genres

3 responses to “Pont Neuf Setting and Collaborative Plots in Written Across the Genres

  1. I’ll look up this story and read it. I’ve been interested in collaborative stories every since I learned that “The Floating Admiral”, an Agatha Christie novel, was actually a collaborative novel written by Mrs. Christie and fourteen other club member authors.
    I’ll have five copies of “Written Across the Genres” for sale at the Central Coast Writer’s booth at the Pacific Grove Good Old Days festival this Saturday April 5 from noon to 2 p.m.. If anyone who contributed to the book is in the Monterey/Pacific Grove area on Saturday, please drop by. You are welcome to join us and sign any of the five copies I will have for sale.


    • Thanks for the referral to “The Floating Admiral”. I had no idea Agatha Christie did a collaborative novel.

      I’ll pass along your festival news. Thanks for promoting “Written Across the Genres.”


  2. Thanks to Victoria Emmons who alerted me to the misspelling of Pont in my original post. I don’t know how the i made it into the word and became Point, and not only once but each time. Victoria helped keep the dock stories Paris-accurate and I’m grateful she’s still on watch.


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