Monday, September 05, 2011

A 2 Z: Peculiar People

White Planet cast members who attended the first
FaithWriters Conference in 2007
In 2005 it occurred to me that one way to get very strong fictional characters with clearly different voices would be to have a different writer focusing on each one. Now, much of my life I've come up with fantastical ideas for fun and involved projects, but had a difficult time persuading my friends to go along with it. Once I got connected with online writing groups, I suddenly had an abundance of friends who were not only as wacky and creative as I, but more than willing to jump into crazy projects.

Thus we started Chat-A-Book and Assignment to White Planet 8069. A handful of us made up a fictional character for ourselves and I laid out a basic outline of the opening part of a story. Then we met weekly in a private chat room and "acted" out a story, ad lib. We wrote actions and dialogue for our characters with the setting allowing for real-time reactions and realistic conversations. The storytelling spanned seven months.

It was so much fun! The transcripts, now called Secrets of the Ice, are set aside, waiting for me to transform them into a screenplay and/or radio drama. But that initial project was successful enough for me to continue trying out similar things.

Thus it was that at some point during those months I decided to make an official organization and dubbed it Peculiar People. The name was perfect. We all know writers are, indeed, a little peculiar. This group's goals were even more peculiar than most. Plus, we were Christians, and as such are called to be a little different from the world. Titus 2:13-14 says in the King James Version that we should be "looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

Since then I've had nearly one hundred writers and artists from at least eight different countries jump on board to submit entries to books. Each project has been unique and written in a slightly different format. I'm still playing with what works most effectively.

Two books are published and available to buy in print and e-book versions. Struggle Creek is a small town mystery. Each chapter is written by a different author and told from the view-point of a different town member, yet the whole thing ties together to tell a consecutive story.

Delivered is a collection of fictional short stories about postcards sent throughout the world saying, "Let me pray for you." Each story is about someone who found a card and how letting a stranger pray for them impacted their life.

The orphan plane project is in progress right now. This story is a twist on the real-life orphan trains in the 1800s that sent children from inner-cities to find safer homes in the west. Our book is set in the future and the children are being sent to live on a space station. Each section is about a different one of the children or workers. The rough draft of that book is almost one-third of the way done.

drawn by
Mid Stutsman

Also in progress is the Heirloom Chronicles book, I Will Be Found, a collection of novellas that follow a fictional wooden box carved by Jesus as it's passed down through history. The book starts in Jesus' time and ends with a futuristic story set in 2020. The rough draft is completed and waiting for us to get back to critiquing and editing.


If you are interested in being a part of PeP, I will add you to the mailing list to be updated about future projects. Send an email to: contact (at) peculiarpeoplebooks (dot) com

Hmmmm, once again I managed to write a ginormous post. Sorry. As always, check out more "P" blog posts in the "From A 2 Z 4 U & Me" meme at www.pattywysong.com. 

16 comments:

Barbara Lynn Culler said...

The history of PeP is fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

Shari said...

I have loved being part of PeP and it has been one of the best writing experiences I've had. I'm looking forward to the time/creativity to be involved in future projects. Thank you, Amy!

Kim Russell said...

Wow, girl, you have a lot going on. I'm so impressed and marvel at your accomplishments. You rock!

Shelley Ledfors said...

Interesting! I have known "about" Peculiar People for quite a while, but never knew the background behind it. Thanks for sharing this!

Patty Wysong said...

Your PeP projects are so cool, Amy!! =]

Jay said...

I knew you'd do your P meme on PeP!
"Steller" Jay

Diana Lesire Brandmeyer said...

How fun!
Diana
www.pencildancer.com

Yvonne Blake said...

So cool... someday, I'm going to join you!

Rita Garcia said...

Love PeP! I consider it an honor to have been a part of two of the PeP projects. Fantastic post!

Diana Dart said...

I always wondered how PeP got off the ground. Sort of suspected it was a fantastical brainchild of yours, Amy :) Love the top pic. And would be thrilled to be included on the mailing list for future projects.

Marji Laine said...

I love your ideas! I especially like the mystery written from the different view points of the townspeople! So cool!

Joanne Sher said...

LOVE PeP - but you knew that already. Struggle Creek is SOOOO fun. And I'm thrilled to have been a part of Delivered, and Orphan Plane, as we work through that one!

Niki Turner said...

Very fun! Creativity building on creativity!

Sara Harricharan said...

Ohhh, how to fun to read the history! (and doubly excited to now be a part of it) :)

YosemiteSyd said...

Thanks Amy, I did wonder about the origin of PeP. I like the idea of being set aside for this purpose. Looking forward to seeing Orphan Place take off!

Anonymous said...

This is a excellent idea for writing a book. Pooling the lifetime experiences of a group of people for one book.