Well, I had a little time so I finally wrote the beginning to our story.

If you’re just joining us and have no idea what I’m talking about, let me fill you in. About a week ago someone emailed me and suggested a fun exercise to do might be to write a fiction story together.

I said, “Great idea!” And now you’re up to date.

So, here’s the deal: a couple of people have already emailed me to let me know they are interested in participating, but this thing is wide open — the more people who get in on it, the better it will be.

The exercise will work like this: (Here’s hoping this doesn’t get too confusing.)

I’ve written the beginning. Once you’ve read it, if you want to write the next part of the story send me an email to let me know. I’ll email the person who gets to me first and tell them to go ahead and write the next bit.

Please DO NOT WRITE ANYTHING until you receive an email from me telling you to go ahead.

This is to ensure that we don’t end up with a dozen different people writing from the same starting point, because in the end we want to have a single coherent novel and not a whole bunch of different ideas kind-of sort-of about the same thing.

I’ll post the first name of the person who’s going to do the writing, so everyone will know. And we’ll go from there, with everyone taking a turn to help flesh this story out.

The section you write doesn’t have to be as long as the beginning I’ve written or it can be a bit longer, whatever you’re comfortable with. We’ll communicate through email. You can send your section to me as quickly as you want but please take no longer than one week (or by next Friday in this case).

Most importantly, this is just for fun!!! Everyone is encouraged and welcomed to participate. So don’t worry so much about grammar or spelling, that stuff is just window dressing I can always tidy up. It’s the story that counts! A good imagination is all you need to write a bit in this story.

Got questions about the rules of the game? Please, send me an email.

So, as I mentioned above I’ve written a beginning.

It’s written in the Third Person point of view (he, she, they) because I can’t write fiction in First Person (I).

I know, most people find the First Person (I) easier, but what can I say? I’m an oddball when it comes to creative writing, so now you’ve all got to stick to the Third Person (he, she, they) too. Or do some funky sort of change up later on . . . that could be pretty artistic.

This is the very First Draft. I’m astonished I’m even letting you see it! Without having a major panic attack. This is rare! But, because this is just for fun, I’m just going to relax and not freak out.

I tend to write a lot of my fiction in the present tense. I don’t know why, but it just seems to work for me. Other people find that more difficult, or so I’ve gleaned from discussions with other writers. Even some readers find it annoying if things are happening here and now. So, in the interest of making this a pleasant experience for everyone, I wrote this in the past tense just for you, so nobody goes batty having everything happen right now.

In keeping with everything that Bread ‘n Molasses and Mighty Miramichi stand for, the story takes place on the river.

The first sentence came to me yesterday morning in the shower and from there I found what I think is a very flexible Miramichi setting. The direction the story takes can really go anywhere, and there are no limits as to the many different types of characters that can be introduced. It leaves us open for drama, comedy, mystery, romance, sci-fi, scariness or whatever plot twists you come up with — But not too scary or romantic because we want to be Kid Friendly reading.

I thought a project of this magnitude deserves it’s own page to keep it separate from everything else and avoid any confusion. So, without further ado, here’s the as yet untitled beginning to our novel.

Remember to email me if you want to write the next part.

The Beginning

Posted by Kellie Friday September 5th, 2003

The river winked in the late morning sunlight.

In the distance the faint sound of an engine could be heard as the bus turned off the main road.

Dust clouds rose from the lane, hanging just above the treetops for a moment before breaking apart and scattering on the wind. Nobody noticed the dust, except for a crow perched high on a telephone wire, overseeing the familiar spectacle.

Everywhere people scurried — indoors and out, upstairs and down, weaving through the gardens, and darting across the lush green lawns.

Young girls loaded with white towels raced from cedar cabin to cedar cabin, triple checking to make sure nothing had been overlooked.

Uniformed staff scrambled to line-up on both sides of the main walkway.

Farther along the shore, men in faded jeans, hip-waders, soft flannel shirts and grimy ball caps checked the boats and fishing rods one last time.

The engine rumbled closer.

“Showtime!” Annie barked, popping her head in and out the kitchen doorway, barely breaking her stride as she flew toward the Grand Hall to greet the guests.

Every season at the Laughing Bear Lodge brought more surprises and memories, but nothing was more exciting than Opening Day. This was the day when the private plane carrying the first 80 guests touched down in Chatham. In the coming months, groups of guests would be flown in twice a week and still more guests would arrive on their own until the Main Lodge and cabins were filled to their 200 bed capacity for most of the summer.

The Laughing Bear hadn’t always been this big and successful. It began in the late 1940’s as a private fishing camp and had gradually grown from there, successfully preserving and maintaining its fishing heritage while steadily increasing its clientele to include young professionals looking for adventure, artists seeking peace, upper middle class families and those enjoying their retirement.

The gold-coloured tour bus with Mooin the Laughing Bear painted on the side lumbered around the bend and into sight.

Annie flipped open the reservation book for one last peak. The bus held a lot of new visitors including a dozen Toronto doctors intent on fishing; the Ritchie family from Des Moines, Iowa; and Rakel, the beautiful Swedish Super Model.

But a few familiar faces would disembark as well.

The DeMateo’s booked the resort for the entire season every year. The retired couple enjoyed all the activities whether swimming laps in the pool, tubing down the river on a sunny day or singing folk songs around an evening campfire. The only reason they didn’t pack up everything and move to the Miramichi for good was because Mr. DeMateo could not abide the cold weather.

They were not the only repeat visitor’s coming on the bus that morning. All the young girl’s hearts had fluttered when they learned the dashing Hollywood actor, Trey Wheeler, would return on Opening Day. Annie blushed when she remembered his mysterious dark eyes and the affectionate way he had always squeezed her arm when he greeted her.

The name on the list that had generated the most speculation belonged to a noted activist. Luna Spring’s unconventional and outrageous stunts garnered her fame around the world. Greenpeace and PETA were only two of the many prestigious activist groups she belonged. On her own, she had staged dozens of sit-ins and hunger strikes. With 125 arrests on her record and still only aged 23, everyone wondered what she might want from the Miramichi.

As the bus coasted to a stop, Annie pulled back the double oak doors and with a smile on her face, clipped down the cobblestone walk to begin the new season.

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