Opening Day Stories Project

Calling all writers. Dankoville Story Group presents a new, short-term writing project, something unexpected…from out of left field…

Some of our very best writers started as sportswriters or dabbled in sports writing at some point in their career. From early on in the development of sports coverage in American newspapers, those who were sent out to cover news were called “reporters” while those who were sent out to cover sports were called “writers.”

Baseball is the sport that has inspired writers most, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Ring Lardner, Ernest Hemingway, George Plimpton, John Updike, Roger Angell, Stephen King, Doris Kearns Goodwin, George Will…once you start making a list, you can’t stop.

Now it’s your turn at bat.

The Dankoville Story Group, in association with the Greyville Writers Colony, invites you to take part in the Opening Day Stories Project.

Wait, don’t go! Not a sports fan? Keep reading, this is for you too.

It all started like this…

Dankoville is my virtual world sim or mini-grid. I use it as a setting for writing and roleplay and two other writers/RPers have joined me. In story, Dankoville is located somewhere in the Corn Belt of the U.S. It’s a small town surrounded by farming communities. Two small cities are nearby.

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I began building a minor league baseball stadium in one of the cities. As the stadium took shape, character and story ideas came to mind. As the build neared completion, an idea came for a group writing project. I pitched it to my group members and they immediately signed on. Then, I moved Dankoville to a new grid, Naras Nook, and naturally that led to inviting others to join us.

So, here it is…the Opening Day Stories Project…

Your objective – To write something about Opening Day in this particular setting and publish it between April 7 – 15.

Project objective – To create a collection of writings from different perspectives, in different styles and forms, about one day in the life of a small town.

First and most importantly, you don’t have to know anything about baseball to take part. If you do know baseball – great, you can use that. If you want. Or not. We’re not asking you to write about a baseball game, we’re asking you to write about Opening Day.

Opening Day is not a sports event, it’s a life event. The stories are not just on the field, they are in the stands. Everyone at the game has a story. Opening Day – especially at a small minor league ballpark in a small city in the middle of miles and miles of farms – is a rite of spring, a celebration of renewal. The locals see friends they may not have seen since before Christmas. People take a half day off from work or skip school to be there. Some have attended every Opening Day for years. Families come out to the park together, as have generations before them. Opening Day brings out the serious fan, the casual fan – who might not pay attention again until the playoffs in the fall, even the non-fan who goes for the event, the atmosphere…or who gets dragged along by a friend or relative who is a fan. There are many reasons to be there on Opening Day and so, of course, there are many stories to tell.

The Rules:

On the one hand, there aren’t any. You can write 3000 words or 300. You can write a chapter, a short story, an essay, an article, a poem, a first-person account, a narrative, one story, three stories…..anything. You can write from the perspective of a local or a visitor.

On the other hand, we need a little structure. I will post separately some background information on our story setting – Dazzle Jarvis Field in Stevenson, somewhere in the Corn Belt. I will also include a Fact Sheet: Here are some things that happened on Opening Day (things like: the weather, a few details about the Opening Day Parade, who sang the national anthem, who took part in the pre-game festivities, who won the game – with a highlight or two, etc.).

The Schedule:

  1. – You can immediately start thinking about this project and you can get a feel for it by visiting the ballpark at your convenience. Here is the HG address for Dankoville:

The arrival point is the Dankoville Information Center. There you will find a Landmark Giver to get you to the ballpark in Stevenson in the NE corner of the Dankoville sim.

  1. – I’ll post the background info on the ballpark and surrounding area in the next couple of days.
  2. – On the same day, I’ll post that Fact Sheet: Here’s what happened on Opening Day.
  1. – Once you have everything from Steps 1, 2 and 3, you can start writing. (If you haven’t started already!)
  1. – The real life Opening Day in Major League Baseball this year is officially April 6 (with one game the night before). In real life, Minor League Baseball starts a few days later but for our purposes, Opening Day at Jarvis Field is Tuesday, April 7.
  1. – Your writing can be published any day from April 7 through April 15.

Publishing Options:

  1. – You can publish your work on your own blog or site. I will add a special section to the Dankoville Stories website for this project that will include links to the work of all participants.
  1. – If you don’t have a blog or appropriate place to post this type of piece, you may post it on the Dankoville Stories site. You retain all rights to your work. An appropriate Copyright notice should appear at the bottom of your work so it may be included on the site.
  1. – Or both. Post it on your on blog and on Dankoville Stories. You’ll still get a link to your blog or site.
  1. I will do extensive promotion of this project itself and the writing it produces. You can promote it too!

What are the Benefits of joining the Opening Day Stories Project?

  1. New writing
  1. Trying something different and unexpected, from out of left field, so to speak.
  1. Sharing
  1. New readers
  1. Fun

How To Get Involved

  1. Join this Google+ community, Opening Day Stories Project 
  1. Contact me via Google+ or inworld on Naras Nook. (If you prefer email, contact me via g+ and I’ll give you my private email.)
  1. Invite your friends. And feel free to write about this project itself and spread the word to others who may be interested in joining or reading our work when it comes out.

And finally…thanks for your time in reading this much. Please be patient as I get things started and get all the info out to you in the next few days.

Questions? I should hope so! Feel free to send them along via g+ or email. And feel free to communicate with me at any time from now through the completion of this project.

Play ball!

Jarvis Field in the Dankoville sim on Naras Nook grid

Jarvis Field in the Dankoville sim on Naras Nook grid

About Danko Whitfield

writer, explorer of virtual worlds. semi-retired time traveler.
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