Tales from the Year Between is the flagship publication of Skullgate Media. It brings a disparate group of writers together twice a year to invent a world from whole cloth, and then turns them loose to tell the stories of that world.
Chris Van Dyke came up with the idea on May 27th 2020 while quarantined in Brooklyn during the Covid-19 pandemic. He missed playing D&D with his friends, and although he was getting a lot of writing done while being stuck at home with his kids, he wanted to do something social. He'd been sitting on the idea of a massive game of The Quiet Year for ... well, years, and it seemed like a good time to try it out. He put out a call on Twitter hoping for 10-15 participants, and in under 24 hours had more than 30.
He spent the next week home-brewing custom rules for The Quiet Year, as the game is designed for 4 people sitting around a table, not 32 people spread from Dubai to Australia.
Wait. What's The Quiet Year, you ask? The Quiet Year is Avery Alder's fantastic, genre-bending collaborative story telling game. Go buy it! Right now! It's awesome. Starting with a very simple premise for a community (we're a town in a desert. Mixed fantasy races, like elves and dwarves and such), the game gives players a series of random prompts and decisions to make each turn. By answering questions, creating projects, and "discovering" new locations on a map, players jointly tell the story of a small community as the year unfolds.
The Quiet Year is our prompt, the engine we use to create a world. Using shared google docs and email chains, all the participants add to the world, one after another. Six days later, there is a document with roughly 10,000 words outlining the major characters, events, and locations in our town. Using this document as our canon, each writer creates within that space, with the explicit encouragement to do something weird. To push the boundaries of genre fiction. As Chris says over and over: it's all good. "Factum Est Bonum"