The Prime Directive

It never ceases to amaze me how this project continues to evolve. The initial impetus behind it was simply to create a framework that several authors could participate in for a chance to collectively hone our storytelling skills and generate a bit of entertaining reading on the forums of a small writer’s site. By the time I’d written the second story, Barkeep! Another Round for Me an’ My Pals, I was convinced that there were many more stories waiting to be told in this new world and with enough time and attention, it could turn into something special. I decided then and there, that if it was possible to get it published, then that was exactly what I wanted, even if no one else decided to participate.

When Scott’s stories began to appear on the boards, I could tell that he too had caught the same idea of the larger world of tales in our world that required telling. He used one of my characters as a starting point, added several more of his own and crafted some excellent tales. His stories in turn spawned more of mine, and the interaction between our individual characters blossomed into various levels of relationships, just as in life outside the printed page.

At the time, there was one rule in place that we operated under. No author was allowed to kill another author’s character. It was our Prime Directive, so to speak. We did intentionally bend that rule ummm… slightly… in a couple of instances, but it was never broken.

Now, some 30 tales into this adventure, we have come to the realization that the Prime Directive may be superceded* (see note) by an Ultra Prime Directive or Alpha Prime Directive, relegating our Prime Directive to Beta Prime. Or something. Much as Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics were superseded* (see note) by the Zeroth Law, our unbreakable rule has run smack into the realization that it is flawed. Well, not flawed, exactly, but not presented in the correct context.

The goal for any teller of tales should be to get the story right. Thus, our new Prime Directive is to tell the tale that is required to be true to the story. If that involves the demise of a particular character, then we have to have the flexibility to allow that. Subsequently, Beta Prime has been amended to prevent character killings from becoming a willy-nilly, helter-skelter affair. So, the new rules are:

  1. Tell the complete story however that particular story should be told
  2. No author is allowed to kill another author’s character without the permission of the character’s creator and without first obtaining approval from both Michael and Scott.
    This part is easy at the moment since we are the only two involved, but could become more difficult if the cadre of authors were to increase.

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*Notes: I have spelled supercede with a “c” for as long as I’ve known how to spell. I found out tonight that I have been wrong all these years.

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One Response to The Prime Directive

  1. Scott Scherr says:

    And there you have it. I certainly hope a character never seeks permission to kill off an author due to a bad story, because the prime directive may not apply 😉

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