Here are the guidelines and rules if you are interested in participating in this project:
- Leave a comment expressing direct interest in writing or claiming a chapter. First come, first serve. You must comment your interest in writing a chapter. If you, however, send in a chapter without expressing interest beforehand, the submission will not be accepted, unfortunately.
- The participant who claims the chapter has seven days when it’s their turn to write the chapter and subsequently send it back to me. If accepted, I will provide edits if needed and the chapter will be up the day after it was submitted.
- If I don’t hear back from you regarding the chapter, however, and it is beyond the one week limit, I will be searching for someone else to write it.
- Please do not submit to the form without commenting your interest in writing a chapter.
- Authors can write multiple chapters—no constraints or limits on how many they do. However, there is a general courtesy to not claim one chapter after the next. This is to allow other authors a chance to participate and as well get their own claims in for future chapters. When it’s your turn, I will remind you in the thread where you’ve claimed the particular chapter.
- There is no deadline for this story. When I feel it’s near the end, I will release a notice on here to get the final few chapters in.
- The minimum word count I will accept is 500. The maximum word count I will accept is somewhere between 8,000 to 10,000 words.
- If no one seems to claim an upcoming chapter, then I will jump in to write again.
- I will not accept anything religious, outwardly political, hateful, pornographic, slurs, or anything that is demeaning, threatening or harmful in its content. Please nothing that is against a particular group, or anything that demeans a certain group of people that would be considered racist, homophobic, sexist, religious discrimination or prejudice. I will not accept your piece if that is such the case.
- An exploration of social issues is fine. It should not alienate or debase the audience, though, in your writing.
- I will as well include your name/pen name and a link to your website (if you have one) with your contribution to the novel collaboration. The novel is titled “Identify.”
You can submit your continuation here after reading chapter two below. Need to catch up? Here is the previous chapter:
Chapter One by Lucy.
Chapter Two (To the other side) by Andrada Costoiu.
Lauren’s long hair was waving in the wind, as they were getting further and further away from the house. The heat was scorching the earth, and clouds of dust were rising behind them. Their military Land Rover was bouncing up and down, and Tom wondered if they were going to be safe in this car with no doors and no roof.
He was holding tight on the side of his seat as the car was making its way through the dirt road. The scenery was out of an Australian outback; red land covered with small bushes. As far as he was concerned, this could be any Australian island or it could be any other part of the world.
“Where are we going?” asked Tom. He looked at Lauren. She was struggling to keep the car steady, as they kept driving towards an undetermined destination.
Lauren! She said she was his sister? He still could not remember anything, and he was still not sure what to think or to believe. His brain was mobbed with images from the past day, the peeled faces, death looming around… What was all that?
“We’re going to the other side of the island,” Lauren threw a piece of paper in his lap.
“What’s this?” Tom looked at the paper. It looked like a sketch, with three red X marks and few other signs that he could not understand.
“The map?” repeated Tom with a quizzical look on his face.
“Yes, it’s everything we know that’s on the island.” She then pushed the breaks and stopped the car.
“We’re here,” she pointed at a place near the South shoreline. “We got to get here,” she traced with her finger upon the map a way that lead to the other side of the island, in the North.
Tom stared at the map, and then at Lauren, his blue eyes squinting in the sun.
“Follow this path,” Lauren showed Tom a line on the trail. There were not too many lines on the map, and it seemed to be an easy task.
“Okay,” Tom nodded wearily. “ Can you tell me what is going on?”
“Not now!” yelled Lauren. “We got to hurry!” She stepped on the acceleration pedal leaving behind clouds of red dust.
They drove. No talking, just Tom steering Lauren as the map showed. He did not know where he was or where he was going, but instinct told him to listen to what this woman was asking of him, so he did. After what seemed like hours, they cleared the open road and entered the woods.
“We made it,” Lauren sighed tiredly, and visibly relaxed.
“Right,” he paled, shaking the water bottle that was empty. “Right. We don’t have anymore water, you know that, do you?”
“Yeah, but we’re here,” she stopped the car. Lauren stepped out and started gathering tree branches. “Come on, Tom, help me. We got to cover it, hide everything that reflects light,” and she started throwing the green branches onto the Land Rover.
“I think this is good,” Lauren took a step back to inspect their work. “Let’s go,” she handed him a heavy bag, while she carried another.
He followed her. She seemed to know where she was going, even though there was no path and there were no signs. At 6’2, Tom could see above her head, but there was nothing yet that would signal other human presence or life.
Suddenly his feet became wiggly, and he fell.
“Do you want to take a break?” Lauren asked. “We can do that now.”
“Yeah,” said Tom, getting up. “Here,” and he put his bag next to a stump. Lauren came and sat next to him.
“You really don’t remember anything?”
“I remember the peeled faces…death…”
“Tom, stop.” Lauren interrupted. “You’re my brother, our parents died in a car accident when we were small. We were in foster care until we ran away,” Lauren glanced at the ground, running her fingers through her long auburn hair. “They found us, they brought us here, just as they do with all people who don’t have family, that nobody would bother or care about enough to trace.”
“They?” He inquired, and Tom took out the map that Lauren gave him before. “What do these represent?” He pointed a finger at each of the three X’s on the map.
Lauren took a deep breath…