Chris Baty, founder of National Novel Writing Month, and I are are writing a collaborative story called “Arrowhead.” It’s available on the collaboration-minded website Ensemble. You can not only read the story, but you can respond to prompts with suggestions and choices for the story. Here’s a sample:

There once was a boy who was plagued by fears. The fears began upon waking in the morning, often a dull, steady beat, like that of his heart, and centered not too far away, somewhere in the center of his chest. The fears crept outward from there: to his shoulders, his throat, his abdomen. They — he thought of them as a ‘they,’ not as an ‘it’ — felt and tasted to him like something sour and vile, like a spoiled cream soup, and they were his constant companion throughout his days. By mid-mornings, they had spread to every extremity, even his littlest toes and certainly well into his brain, and they whispered words to him — not that he actually heard voices, but if he had they would have said — Don’t leave the house; don’t stay in this room; no, not in this other room either; that person doesn’t like you; this thing is going to hurt you; you’ll never get any better; it’s always going to feel like this; you are going to continue to be a screw-up; why bother starting anything, you loser.


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